When creating a new will, take the time to meet with your attorney and thoroughly discuss your current family situation. Yes, lawyers charge by the hour, but the hourly rate is well worth avoiding the pitfalls of a contested estate later in Probate Court. To be considered: Are you married to your first spouse? Are you in a second, or even third, marriage? Do you have children from multiple marriages? Are there any heirs who cannot manage their money? Are their heirs who have special needs? Do you have children whose marriages are unstable- and their spouse might take advantage of your child’s inheritance? Are your assets liquid or highly illiquid and concentrated in real estate holdings? These questions should be part of your interview when beginning preparations for a new will.
Most people want to ensure that their assets are left to the people who they love most, or the organizations they admire most. You need to make sure your will is drafted so the people you intend to inherit are the ones who receive the benefit of your estate. Too often, estates are distributed to unworthy beneficiaries, in-laws never intended to inherit, or organizations other than the ones you designated. Also, be aware that a surviving spouse, the first or a subsequent spouse, can seek a Petition for a Year’s Support and that can affect others that have an interest in your estate, such as creditors and children of the first marriage.
Please make sure your attorney has reviewed your situation before preparing your will and talk through the possibilities. You cannot anticipate everything but you and your attorney should be as prepared as possible. Please call us to help you with your estate planning needs.