Like life, estate planning can be full of uncomfortable bumps in the road. Here are 4 estate planning cautions to ensure that your ride is a bit smoother.
- Disinheriting a child
If you choose to disinherit a child, for whatever reason, you must acknowledge the child and indicate that you have chosen not to provide for him or her.
Do not just fail to mention the child.
If you simply don’t mention the child, most state laws will allow that child to take his or her fair share. The goal of these laws is to avoid a child be unintentionally overlooked.
- Preventing a will contest
You can prevent most will contests if you work with a qualified estate planning attorney.
If there may be any reason that your capacity to execute estate planning documents could be questioned, get an expert medical statement indicating that you have capacity. It would also be prudent to have the execution of your documents videotaped.
Do not antagonize a natural beneficiary. Don’t leave $1 or some other insulting sum to a beneficiary. Most will contests are the result of anger or hurt feelings.
- Avoid jointly owned property
Jointly owned property commonly leads to the unintentional disinheritance of children. Because jointly owned property automatically goes to the surviving owner, children are often disinherited, especially in the case of a second or third marriage.
In addition, your ownership interest in jointly owned property is subject to seizure by your joint owner’s creditors. You may lose it all.
- Don’t store estate planning documents in your safe deposit box
If you keep your estate planning documents in your safe deposit box, they likely will not be available when your loved ones need them. And, the documents that prove that your loved ones have authority to enter your safe deposit box are in the box itself.
To avoid these and other bumps in the estate planning road, consult with a qualified estate planning attorney.
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