About half of Americans have taken the time to create a will. Creating a will is usually done so that people can be sure that their property is divided up the way they want after death. While a will does dictate how an estate should be divided, many times heirs are surprised and upset because of what happens. When the will is executed as written, all involved may know it does not reflect what the loved one who has passed away would have really wanted.
You may be wondering how can this can happen. If the point of the will is to dictate the wishes of the testator, and that testator presumably reviewed and signed the will, how is it that their true wishes are not met? This can happen for two primary reasons. Either the testator/creator of the will did not fully consider the results of their wishes when they created the will, or circumstances have changed since the will was executed, and the testator never reviewed and updated the will based on these events.
Many people now use online and other resources to create their own wills. One of the reasons to consult with an estate planning attorney is that they can use their knowledge and experience to help you understand the consequences that are not otherwise considered by the will’s creator. Many times, testators grant equal distributions of their assets to their children. They think this is the “fair” way to distribute their estate. However, certain situations can cause the equal distributions to create sibling tension when the will is executed.
A common example is when one child has had their college tuition paid for by the testator/grantor, and one or more of the other children have not. The college educated child may be making a much larger salary than the child or children who did not attend college. If the assets are equally distributed, the children who did not take money to go to college may feel slighted. Of course, this is not always the case, but is certainly something to consider. This is just one example of how the execution of a will can leave siblings at odds, which is something most parents would want to avoid.
The other way a will can be executed contrary to the testator’s actual intentions is when situations change over time but the will is not updated. Anyone who executes a will should review it periodically. One example is when specific property is left to an heir but sold before the testator dies. If the will is silent as to what happens upon the sale, the heir will take nothing. The testator may have really wanted to leave something for this heir, but if the specific asset is gone, that won’t happen. Reviewing the will annually with an estate planning attorney can help prevent this type of consequence from occurring.
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Kohlhepp Law Office
I provide a personal and comprehensive approach to Estate Planning. I do not simply create a bunch of documents and call it your estate plan. I will work with you to create an actual PLAN. Everyone has different families, interests, needs, and priorities. I will work with you closely to determine what your specific circumstances are and create a custom plan tailored to meet your specific needs and wishes.
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