Estate Planning Blog

Why Wills Need to be Updated
Why Wills Need to be Updated

Why Wills Need to be Updated

Why Wills Need to be Updated. Lives change, and laws change. People come and go in our lives, through birth, death, marriage and divorce. Change is a constant factor in everyone’s lives. If your estate plan doesn’t keep up to date, says Next Avenue in the article “8 Reasons You May Need to Update Your Will,” you could create real problems for those you love. Here are eight reasons why people need to review their wills to ensure that your estate plan reflects your current life.

Why Wills Need to be Updated:

Moving to a new home. If you’ve moved to a new state since the last time your will was written, your will needs a review. Remember, wills are administered under the laws of the state where you live, so the new state’s laws apply. An out-of-state will could present issues. If the number of witnesses required to make a will valid in your old state of residence was one, but the new state requires two witnesses, your will could be deemed invalid.

Selling one home and buying another. If your will does not reflect your current address, it’s going to be very difficult for your executor to properly transfer ownership or manage the sale of the house. Most wills incorporate specific language about homes that includes the address.

You’ve done a good job of downsizing. Kudos to you for cleaning out and getting rid of unwanted items. If you no longer own things that are itemized in a will, they’ll be skipped over. However, do you want to give heirs something else? Without specific instructions, they won’t know who gets what.

Did you already give away possessions? Avoid family conflicts by being clear about who gets what. If you already gave your oldest daughter an antique dining room set but your will says it goes to the youngest son, things could become awkward. Similarly, if you gave one child something with a higher market or sentimental value than what you gave to another, it could create tension in the family. Updating your will is an opportunity to adjust these gifts.

Charity relationships change. The same organization that mattered greatly to you ten years ago may not have as much meaning—or may have changed its focus. Update your will to reflect the charitable contributions that matter to you now.

Finances change. If a will spells out exact amounts and the money is gone, or if your accounts have increased, those numbers may no longer be accurate or reflect your wishes. The dollar amounts may create a challenge for your executor. What if you designated a gift of stock to someone that wasn’t worth much at the time, but is worth a small fortune now? Amending a will can ensure that your gifts are of the value that you want them to be.

One child is now your primary caregiver. If one child has dedicated the last five years to taking care of you, you may want to update the document to show your gratitude and compensate them for lost earnings or expenses. If you do, explain your reasons for this kind of change to other children, so that there’s no misunderstanding when the will is read.

A beneficiary has passed away. If you are a surviving spouse, that alone may not be reason to update your will, if—and this is a big if—your will included alternate recipients as a plan for this situation. If there were no alternate recipients, then you will need to revise your will after the death of a spouse. If you listed leaving items to a beneficiary who has died, instructions on how to distribute these items or assets to someone else can be done with an amended will.

Why Wills Need to be Updated…your estate planning attorney will be able to review your will and your estate plan with you to determine what items need to be updated. Your documents may need only a tune-up, and not a complete overhaul, but it is advisable to review estate plans every three or four years.

Reference: Next Avenue (August 22, 2019) “8 Reasons You May Need to Update Your Will”

 

Protect Yourself – Not Just Your Heirs – With Your Estate Plan
Protect Yourself – Not Just Your Heirs – With Your Estate Plan

Protect Yourself – Not Just Your Heirs – With Your Estate Plan

Protect Yourself – Not Just Your Heirs – With Your Estate Plan. Experts urge people to develop estate plans to make sure you get to choose who will inherit from you and how much, and to select additional options that are available through legal documents, like trust agreements. It can be easy to procrastinate about putting the time and effort into going through this process, if you do not see a direct benefit to yourself. However, having an estate plan can also have a dramatic effect on your life. You can protect yourself – not just your heirs – with your estate plan.

Living the Dream. Protect Yourself – Not Just Your Heirs – With Your Estate Plan

You can have your elder law attorney draft documents that can make it possible for you to live your dream life, without a care in the world. Let’s say that you want to sail around the world for a few years or serve a tour of duty in the 50+ section of the Peace Corps. You cannot unplug 100 percent from the everyday world. Someone will have to pay your unavoidable bills, file your taxes and manage your money, when you are away and out of reach.

If you know someone whom you can trust without reservation, your lawyer can draft a financial power of attorney for the person you designate (your agent) to handle as many or as few business matters as you specify. You can revoke the power of attorney whenever you want, as long as you have the legal capacity to do so.

In other words, if the law would allow you to draft a valid power of attorney now, you have the legal capacity to revoke one. If you have become incompetent, for example, from an illness or injury, you cannot change the power of attorney, until or unless you regain competency.

Planning for the Worst. Protect Yourself – Not Just Your Heirs – With Your Estate Plan

Your power of attorney will automatically expire, if you become incapacitated, unless you make sure that the document is a “durable” power of attorney. Being durable means that, at the time that you signed the paper, you intended for the document to continue in effect, if you could not manage matters for yourself.

If you do not have a durable power of attorney and one day you have a stroke or a catastrophic car crash, by way of example, the courts will decide who will make your financial decisions for you. Your family will have to file a request with the court (and pay the court costs to do so), wait for a hearing date, and get a ruling from a judge – a person who has never met you or your family. By the way, the judge will be required to appoint an independent attorney to represent you against your family, to protect your interests. If you prefer to have control over this decision rather than a total stranger, get a durable power of attorney.

Trusts are for the Living. Protect Yourself – Not Just Your Heirs – With Your Estate Plan

Many people think of setting up a trust as a way to pass their assets to their loved ones privately and quickly, without having to go through the Surrogates’ Courts. While that is one of the purposes for trusts, you can also set up a living trust to stipulate how you want your assets, investments and other financial matters handled, if you become incapacitated.

You can even lay out how you want your business run, if you own a company. You can name someone to serve as your guardian and name a conservator who will manage your finances. You can also let a total stranger make these decisions.

Be sure to talk with an elder law attorney in your area, because this article is about the general law.  Your state’s rules might vary from the general law.

References:

American Bar Association. Power of Attorney. (Accessed April 4, 2019) https://www.americanbar.org/groups/real_property_trust_estate/resources/estate_planning/power_of_attorney/

 

Lee Radziwill Leaves Estate to Daughter and Nothing for Caroline Kennedy and Daughter-in Law Carole Radziwill
Lee Radziwill Leaves Estate to Daughter and Nothing for Caroline Kennedy

Lee Radziwill Leaves Estate to Daughter and Nothing for Caroline Kennedy and Daughter-in Law Carole Radziwill

Lee Radziwill Leaves Estate to Daughter and Nothing for Caroline Kennedy and Daughter-in Law Carole Radziwill.  International socialite Lee Bouvier Radziwill, sister of the late First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, has left her entire estate to her only living child, Anna Christina Radziwill. Neither of her nieces, Caroline Kennedy or her widowed daughter-in-law Carole DiFalco Radziwill, were given anything in the will, according to the Daily Mail’s exclusive article “Lee Bouvier Radziwill’s Last Will and Testament shows that her lone surviving child, Anna Christina ‘Tina’ Radziwill, will inherit her estimated $50 million estate.”

It’s quite a contrast to Jackie Kennedy Onassis’ will, who generously instructed that each of Lee’s children were to be given $500,000. However, the relationship between the ex-princess and her daughter-in-law Carole allegedly waxed and waned, after her son Anthony’s death from cancer. Lee herself was said to be hard pressed for cash, because of an extremely extravagant lifestyle. However, her own mother had set up a trust for her benefit decades ago.

Radziwill’s last will and testament was signed on Sep. 20, 2018, less than five months before she passed away. She died at age 85 of apparent natural causes in her apartment in New York City.

Her daughter-in-law, Carole DiFalco Radziwill, had appeared on “The Real Housewives of New York City.”

Because her son Anthony predeceased his mother, her will stated that she has one child, named Christina. She directed her executors to sell her New York City co-op apartment as soon after her death as may be practicable and to dispose of the proceeds, as part of her estate. She split her time between New York City and Paris, where she kept an apartment that was sold in 2017.

Throughout her high-profile life, Lee would reportedly turn to her sister Jackie and ask for funds to finance her lavish lifestyle. In response, Jackie did not leave any money for her sister in her own will, explaining simply that she had provided for her sister during her lifetime.

Lee was married to three men, who left her substantial funds. The last was Herbert Ross, a wealthy director and producer. However, in her own will, light is shed on a trust set up for her by her mother, Janet Lee Auchincloss, a leading member of American society in Newport RI, and Washington, D.C. The trust was created in 1975, an agreement between Jackie as grantor and Lee and the U.S. Trust Company of New York as trustees and revealed that Christina becomes the beneficiary of this and any other trusts that are in her and her mother’s name. The value of the trust was not revealed.

The executor of Lee’s wills are two friends, one who lives in Cornwall CT and another who lives in Harding Township, NJ.

Lee’s relationship with her daughter-in-law received a nice grace note, when Carole wrote about her mother-in-law and said that even though her husband was gone and there were no grandchildren, which often bonds in-laws, Lee always introduced her as her daughter-in-law, and even after long absences, she never wavered.

Lee Radziwill Leaves Estate to Daughter and Nothing for Caroline Kennedy and Daughter-in Law Carole Radziwill. Ironically, the first item in her estate states that all debts and funeral expenses be paid as soon as practicable, and that no extraordinary means or special accounting loopholes be taken to avoid paying any death taxes. That’s an interesting comment from someone who was blessed with wealth, glamour and connections, but never had enough money to fund her own lifestyle.

Reference: Daily Mail (March 29, 2019) “Lee Bouvier Radziwill’s Last Will and Testament shows that her lone surviving child, Anna Christina ‘Tina’ Radziwill, will inherit her estimated $50 million estate.”

Forgot to Update Your Beneficiary Designations? Your Ex Will be Delighted
Forgot to Update Your Beneficiary Designations? Your Ex Will be Delighted

Forgot to Update Your Beneficiary Designations? Your Ex Will be Delighted

Forgot to Update Your Beneficiary Designations? Your Ex Will be Delighted.

Your will does not control who inherits all your assets when you die. This is something that many people do not know. Instead, many of your assets will pass by beneficiary designations, says Kiplinger in the article “Beneficiary Designations: 5 Critical Mistakes to Avoid.”

The beneficiary designation is the form that you fill out, when opening many different types of financial accounts. You select a primary beneficiary and, in most cases, a contingency beneficiary, who will inherit the asset when you die.

Typical accounts with beneficiary designations are retirement accounts, including 401(k)s, 403(b)s, IRAs, SEPs, life insurance, annuities and investment accounts. Many financial institutions allow beneficiaries to be named on non-retirement accounts, which are most commonly set up as Transfer on Death (TOD) or Pay on Death (POD) accounts.

It’s easy to name a beneficiary and be confident that your loved one will receive the asset, without having to wait for probate or estate administration to be completed. However, there are some problems that occur and mistakes get expensive.

Forgot to Update Your Beneficiary Designations? Your Ex Will be Delighted. Here are mistakes you don’t want to make:

Failing to name a beneficiary. It’s hard to say whether people just forget to fill out the forms or they don’t know that they have the option to name a beneficiary. However, either way, not naming a beneficiary becomes a problem for your survivors. Each company will have its own rules about what happens to the assets when you die. Life insurance proceeds are typically paid to your probate estate, if there is no named beneficiary. Your family will need to go to court and probate your estate.

When it comes to retirement benefits, your spouse will most likely receive the assets. However, if you are not married, the retirement account will be paid to your probate estate. Not only does that mean your family will need to go to court to probate your estate, but taxes will be levied on the asset. When an estate is the beneficiary of a retirement account, all the assets must be paid out of the account within five years from the date of death. This acceleration of what would otherwise be a deferred income tax, must be paid much sooner.

Neglecting special family considerations. There may be members of your family who are not well-equipped to receive or manage an inheritance. A family member with special needs who receives an inheritance, is likely to lose government benefits. Therefore, your planning needs to include a SNT — Special Needs Trust. Minors may not legally claim an inheritance, so a court-appointed person will claim and manage their money until they turn 18. This is known as a conservatorship. Conservatorships are costly to set up. They must also make an annual accounting to the court. Conservators may need to file a bond with the court, which is usually bought from an insurance company. This is another expensive cost.

If you follow this course of action, at age 18 your heir may have access to a large sum of money. That may not be a good idea, regardless of how responsible they might be. A better way to prepare for this situation is to have a trust created.  The trustee would be in charge of the money for a period of time that is determined by the personality and situation of your heirs.

Using an incorrect beneficiary name. This happens quite frequently. There may be several people in a family with the same name. However, one is Senior and another is Junior. The person might also change their name through marriage, divorce, etc. Not only can using the wrong name cause delays, but it could lead to litigation, especially if both people believe they were the intended recipient.

Failing to update beneficiaries. Just as your will must change when life changes occur, so must your beneficiaries. It’s that simple, unless you really wanted to give your ex a windfall.

Failing to review beneficiaries with your estate planning attorney. Beneficiary designations are part of your overall estate plan and financial plan. For instance, if you are leaving a large insurance policy to one family member, it may impact how the rest of your assets are distributed.

Forgot to Update Your Beneficiary Designations? Take the time to review your beneficiary designations, just as you review your estate plan. You have the power to determine how your assets are distributed, so don’t leave that to someone else.

Reference: Kiplinger (April 5, 2019) “Beneficiary Designations: 5 Critical Mistakes to Avoid”

What If I Divide My Wealth Unequally Among My Kids?
What If I Divide My Wealth Unequally Among My Kids?

What If I Divide My Wealth Unequally Among My Kids?

What If I Divide My Wealth Unequally Among My Kids?

What and how you leave your wealth can be a hard decision, if you have more than one child. This is particularly true, if your kids’ circumstances are dramatically different or you’re much closer to one than another. The easiest solution might be to split whatever you have equally among them. However, is equal the same thing as fair?

Ladders.com’s recent article, “More parents are leaving unequal inheritances to their adult kids” says that a growing number of parents say that answer is a resounding “no.”

According to a new study from Merrill Lynch Bank of America/Age Wave, responding parents with more than one child who are planning to leave an inheritance, are okay leaving different sums to each child, based on the situation. In fact, the research showed that 67% of Americans think that under certain circumstances, an uneven split is just fine.

Other studies have showed the same trend. A 2015 study by IZA Institute for Labor Economics, based on data from a large government study, found that among Americans at least 50 years old who had a will, the percentage who left unequal inheritances to their children had more than doubled from 16% in 1995 to 35% in 2010. However, an unequal division can generate ugly sibling fights, jealousy and meltdowns.

An Ameriprise survey found that among siblings who fought about money as adults, 70% of the fights involved issues with parents, like how the inheritance gets divided. If you go with unequal inheritances, you need to manage expectations, so you don’t have one sibling blaming another or you.

There are many reasons why parents consider another option. In the Merrill Lynch Bank of America/Age Wave study, nearly one in four of respondents said a child who has children of her own, deserves more money than a child who doesn’t have kids. About 66% said that a child who steps in as primary caregiver for an aging parent, deserves to inherit more than other siblings. A total of 40% of participants with blended families, say they should treat stepchildren the same as biological or adopted children.

Because of the potential different circumstances of each child, you may want to give one child the money outright, and with the other, you may want to put it in a trust. The reason for doing this is to protect the child, not to punish them. If a child struggles with addiction or overspending, a trust makes certain that she has access to the money, but the trustee has control over its disbursement. In some cases, parents may also be concerned that a child’s marriage may be in trouble or feel uneasy about their son- or daughter-in-law.

What If I Divide My Wealth Unequally Among My Kids? Regardless of how you decide to distribute your assets, if you feel you have a sound rationale for not dividing it equally, tell the children what you’re doing and why. Explaining this is very important to help avoid misunderstandings and misperceptions.

Likewise, if you think a trust is best for one child, you may use a trust for all of them to avoid hurt feelings and anger among the siblings, after you’re gone.

Reference: Ladders.com (March 25, 2019) “More parents are leaving unequal inheritances to their adult kids”

 

 

Inheritance, Meet Technology: Estate Claims May Be Challenged
Inheritance, Meet Technology: Estate Claims May Be Challenged

Inheritance, Meet Technology: Estate Claims May Be Challenged

Inheritance, Meet Technology: Estate Claims May Be Challenged.

Between off-the-shelf DNA testing kits and online genealogical searches, family members who may have never known of each other’s existence are coming to light more often than ever before. So is the news that one’s parent may not be a biological parent, according to the article “Discovering long-lost family: Inheritance laws cover surprise relatives, but changes possible,” from The Indiana Lawyer.

This is yet another reason that wills and estate plans must be carefully drafted by an estate planning attorney. Language in the will must make it very clear that assets are only to be distributed to the known children of the married couple, unless that is not the person’s wish.

An inheritance may be left for a child who was given up through adoption or, if a previously unknown child shows up at the doorstep, the family may wish to bequeath a share of their estate to that child. There may be no legal claim, but the family may feel a moral obligation, which is entirely up to them.

Since technology is streamlining the search for lost relatives into a few keyboard clicks, the drafting of wills has become more complex. It’s not just filling out names on a form, because the will has to be drafted to prevent any unforeseen problems that may result when new relatives appear.

The search for unknown relatives usually comes from positive motives. Family members usually want to connect with long-lost cousins, aunts, uncles and siblings, out of a desire for connection and not financial gain. However, a properly prepared will should be drafted, according to the testator’s wishes which may result in inheritance although Estate Claims May Be Challenged.

Families are changing, with more openness, and estate plans are being adjusted accordingly.

One couple wrote a will to leave an inheritance to a grandson, even though he had been adopted by another man. Their son had died after fathering the child without marrying the child’s mother. The mother married, and her husband adopted the grandchild, but the grandparents had maintained a relationship with the family and left their son’s heir a portion of their estate.

People are more aware that family members may arrive unexpectedly. Occasionally, spouses want language in the will restricting assets only to the children who are the product of their marriage. That can spur some uncomfortable, but necessary, conversations.

When you sit down with an estate planning lawyer to discuss your will and distribution of assets, you’ll need to be honest and discuss any possible heirs who might appear that were previously unknown to the family. The more details and information you can provide to the attorney, the better prepared your will can be to withstand a challenge from a ‘new relative.’ If the wish is to take care of a previously unknown family member, that can be accomplished also.

Reference: The Indiana Lawyer (May 29, 2019) “Discovering long-lost family: Inheritance laws cover surprise relatives, but changes possible”

What Does an Elder Law Attorney Really Do?
What Does an Elder Law Attorney Really Do?

What Does an Elder Law Attorney Really Do?

A knowledgeable elder law attorney will make certain that he represents the best interests of his senior client in a variety of situations that usually occur in an elderly person’s life.

An elder care lawyer will also be very knowledgeable about several different areas of the law.

The Idaho Falls Spokesperson’s recent article, “What is an Elder Law Attorney and What Can They Do for You?” looks at some of the things an elder law lawyer can do.

Elder care attorneys address long-term care issues, housing, quality of life, independence and autonomy—which are all critical issues concerning seniors.

Your elder law attorney knows that one of the main issues senior citizens face is sound estate planning. This may include planning for a minor or adult child with special needs, as well as probate proceedings, which is a process where a deceased person’s assets are collected and distributed to the heirs and creditors.

The probate process may also involve the Uniform Probate Code (UPC). The UPC is a set of inheritance rules written by national experts. A major responsibility of the probate process is to fully administer the entire estate, including appointing executors and ensuring that all assets are disbursed properly.

An attorney experienced in elder law can also assist your family to make sure that your senior receives the best possible care arrangement, which may become more important as his or her medical needs increase.

An attorney in elder care law also helps clients find the best nursing home to fully satisfy all their needs. Finally, they often will also work to safeguard assets to prevent spousal impoverishment, when one spouse must go to a nursing home.

A qualified elder care attorney can be a big asset to your family, as you journey through the elder care planning process. Working with an attorney to set up contingency plans can provide peace of mind and relief to you and your loved ones.

Reference: Idaho Falls Spokesperson (May 20, 2019) “What is an Elder Law Attorney and What Can They Do for You?”

Suggested Key Terms: Estate Planning, Elder Law Attorney, Paying for a Nursing Home, Long-Term Care Planning, Special Needs Trust, Elder Care

Wills v. Trusts: What’s Right for You?
Wills v. Trusts: What’s Right for You?

Wills v. Trusts: What’s Right for You?

Wills v. Trusts: What’s Right for You?

It’s a good idea to take the time and make the effort to create an estate plan to take care of your estate — no matter if it’s a condo apartment and a housecat or a big house and lots of money in the bank — just in case something unexpected occurs tomorrow. That’s the advice from AZ Big Media in the article “The pros and cons of wills vs. trusts.”

Estate planning is the area of the law that focuses on the disposition of assets and expenses, when a person dies. The goal is to take care of the “business side” of life while you are living, so your family and loved ones don’t have to pick up the pieces after you are gone. Planning in advance helps your family. It’s much more expensive, time-consuming and stressful for the survivors to do this after death, than it is if you plan in advance.

Wills v. Trusts: What’s Right for You? You have likely heard the words “trust” and “will” as part of estate planning. What are the differences between the two, and how do you know which one you need?

A will is the most commonly used legal document for leaving instructions about your property after you die. It is also used to name an executor — the person who will be in charge of your assets, their distribution, paying taxes and any estate expenses after you die. The will is very important, if you have minor children and low assets. This is how you will name guardians to raise your children, if something unexpected occurs to you and your partner, spouse or co-parent. The will is also the document you use to name the person who you would like to care for your pets, if you have any.

Burial instructions are not included in wills, since the will is not usually read for weeks or sometimes months after a person passes. It’s also not the right way to distribute funds that have been taken care of through the use of beneficiary designations or joint ownership on accounts or assets.

Another document used in estate planning is a trust. There are many different types of trusts, from revocable trusts, which you control as long as you are alive, and irrevocable trusts, which are controlled by trustees. There are too many to name in one article, but if there is something that needs to be accomplished in an estate plan, there’s a good chance there is a special trust designed to do it. An estate planning attorney will be able to tell you if you need a trust, and what purpose it will serve.

Trusts can be used by anyone with assets or property.

A will can be a very simple document. It requires proper formats and formalities to ensure that it is valid. If you try to do this on your own, your heirs will be the ones to find out if you have done it properly.  If it is not done correctly, the court will deem it invalid and your estate will be “intestate,” that is, without a will.

Many people believe that they should put all their assets into a trust to avoid probate, avoid delay in the process of transferring assets and to avoid the public nature of the probate process. In some cases, this may be useful. However, there are some states where probate is not an onerous process, and this is not the only reason for setting up trusts.

A trust won’t eliminate taxes completely, nor will it eliminate the need for any estate administration. However, it may make passing certain assets to another person or another generation easier. Your estate planning attorney will be able to guide you through this process.

Whether you use a will or a trust, or as is most common, a combination of the two, you need an estate plan that includes other documents, including power of attorney and health care power of attorney. These two particular documents are used while you are living, so that someone you name can make financial decisions (power of attorney) and medical health decisions (health care power of attorney or health care proxy) if you should become incapacitated, through illness or injury.

Speak with an estate planning attorney. Every person’s situation is a little different, and an estate planning attorney will create an estate plan that works for you and protects your family.

Reference: AZ Big Media (March 21, 2019) “The pros and cons of wills vs. trusts”

 

How Do I Plan for a Blended Family?
How Do I Plan for a Blended Family?

How Do I Plan for a Blended Family?

How Do I Plan for a Blended Family?

Having a close and caring family is a beautiful dream, but a dream without a plan isn’t worth a nickel. However, a dream with a workable plan may be worth a million bucks. Dr. Rich Melheim, Holding Your Family Together

… we still encounter many examples of dual living on a daily basis – elderly relatives living with their children, grown-up kids still living with their parents, siblings living together in roommate-type arrangements … multi-generational family units move in together, usually for the purposes of cutting down on the cost of living and providing social support to each other. Justine Drejer, Dual Living

What is a blended family and How Do I Plan for a Blended Family? A blended family (or stepfamily) can be thought of as the result of two or more people forming a life together (married or not) that includes children from one or both of their previous relationships, says The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette in a recent article, “You’re in love again, but consider the legal and financial issues before it’s too late.”

Research from the Pew Research Center study reveals a high remarriage rate for those 55 and older—67% between the ages 55 and 64 remarry. Some of the high remarriage percentage may be due to increasing life expectancies or the death of a spouse. In addition, divorces are increasing for older people who may have decided that, with the children grown, they want to go their separate ways.

It’s important to note that although 50% of first marriages end in divorce, that number jumps to 67% of second marriages and 80% of third marriages end in divorce.

So if you’re remarrying, you should think about starting out with a prenuptial agreement. This type of agreement is made between two people prior to marriage. It sets out rights to property and support, in case there’s a divorce or death. Both parties must reveal their finances. This is really helpful, when each may have different income sources, assets and expenses.

You should discuss whose name will be on the deed to your home, which is often the asset with the most value, as well as the beneficiary designations of your life insurance policies, 401(k)s and individual retirement accounts.

It is also important to review the agents under your health care directives and financial powers of attorney. Ask yourself if you truly want your stepchildren in any of these agent roles, which may include “pulling the plug” or ending life support.

Talk to an experienced estate planning attorney about these important documents that you’ll need, when you say “I do” for the second (or third) time.

Reference: Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (February 24, 2019) “You’re in love again, but consider the legal and financial issues before it’s too late”

 

Grieving Children Wish Mom Had an Estate Plan
Grieving Children Wish Mom Had an Estate Plan

Grieving Children Wish Mom Had an Estate Plan

Grieving Children Wish Mom Had an Estate Plan. When a parent dies somewhat unexpectedly, adult children may be overcome by grief. However, they then may become overwhelmed by frustration.

It’s almost too difficult to mourn right now—because the family can be too busy trying to take care of her estate.

This time can be especially hard, if the recently departed parent failed to leave a will, a trust or any estate planning whatsoever.

The recent article published on WSAV’s website entitled “Family warns others to not put off estate planning” says that in one instance, the family was forced to leave their mom while she was dying in the hospice to try and organize the paperwork done for her estate.

An estate plan is a guide for your family. A good estate plan will include not only a will, but also a health care power of attorney and a living will.

Work with an experienced estate planning attorney and try even harder to get everyone to the table to discuss the issues.

One way to approach aging parents, is to say “You are helping me, if you could write this down.”

Many regret not taking action sooner to save stress and energy resulting in Grieving Children Wish Mom Had an Estate Plan.

“You have every emotion you could ever have, because you are about to lose your loved one and you have to deal with everything else on top of it,” one woman commented.

Reference: WSAV (February 26, 2019) “Family warns others to not put off estate planning”