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Making Sure Your Estate Plan Reflects Your Wishes

Posted by Andrew Byers | May 16, 2018 | 0 Comments

Jack and Doris wanted to divide their property equally between their three children. The house should to go to daughter Mary who loved it, and the rest of their estate should be apportioned equally between sons Bob and Frank.

Jack and Doris's attorney drafted a will distributing the modest remainder to the sons and the attorney filed a ladybird deed leaving the house to Mary. In the right circumstances, a ladybird deed can be a useful and efficient way to leave real estate to heirs without going through expensive and protracted probate proceedings.

Years passed. Jack died and, late in life, Doris was diagnosed with cancer. She had forgotten about the earlier plan. She wrote out a will leaving her property equally to her three children.

After Doris died, the children were unhappy to discover a conflict between the old deed and the new handwritten will. The will was legally binding but, because deeds can take precedence, Mary ended up getting more than her parents had intended. She got the house through the ladybird deed and then an additional one-third of the remaining property through the will. This was not what Jack and Doris had wanted and the inequity strained the relationship between the children.

Remember: Your estate plan is not a time capsule, preserving relics for future discovery. Be sure to talk to an attorney to update your plan in the event of illness or change in circumstances. Please feel free to contact us – we would be happy to help.

About the Author

Andrew Byers

Andrew Byers' elder law practice focuses on the legal needs of older clients and their families, and works with a variety of legal tools and techniques to meet the goals and objectives of the older client. Under this holistic approach, I handle estate and longevity planning issues and counsel cli...

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