On August 6, 2013

If getting revenge on your kids is something you want to do then leave them an Estate Plan that is a mess. Have no will or trust or have several wills that conflict with each other. Tell one child they can have these items and then tell another child they can have some of the same items, but don’t spell it out in your Will. Get remarried and don’t get divorced after it’s over because of the cost. When you pass away¬†your kids don’t know where your will is or if you had one because you didn’t like to talk about that subject. They thought they were getting left your house and stuff only find out they don’t because everything goes to your spouse.

All of these sound like very mean spirited things to do to your kids but they are examples of clients that we have had over the years. The sad part is these were all unintentional consequences and cleaning them up took more than what it would have cost to do it right up front. Two types of people create the majority of these problem we see.

The DIY Person: Feels they can do this themselves. If I keep it simple and straight forward there will be no confusion. From this person one thing we will see is multiple wills done with none of the prior wills being revoked. In one case the father had given the kids a copy of his will after their mom died. He then later drafted another will to leave some of his belongings and money to his new girlfriend. After the court fight over who should get what, there was very little that anybody got. Another big DIY problem is limited or no knowledge of state defined defaults for estates and no coordination of non-probate transfers and your estate plan. Non probate transfer errors are some of the biggest and easiest to make.

The Round To It Person: I have plenty of time to get this done before I pass away. Dad passed away before he made the time to get his will done. He thought that since he had talked about his wishes with the family and everybody agreed, it would just happen that way. When his new wife walked away with everything, the kids were shocked to hear they couldn’t do anything to get even a few of Dads treasured keepsakes.

Every day you see lives cut short by accidents, health problems or acts of violence. Think of your Estate Planinng as insurance for you and your family. If you are disabled or you die, this tool can save your loved ones immense heartache and financial burdens.

Categories: Estate Planning

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