Recently, a good man passed away. Unfortunately, his unexpectedly quick passing leaves serious, unresolved issues affecting his family and his estate. For privacy reasons, the non-relevant details will be modified or left vague. But the lesson is too important to ignore.
This man had received a significant payment, and his estate will likely receive more in the future. His health began to deteriorate and he became concerned how this money would be used after his passing. As with all of us, his family also dealt with some of the complications of life. There was reason for concern that this money would not be used as he desired after he passed away.
His first concern was that the money be available to assist his spouse. But he also felt it better that someone besides her control how the money be used for her benefit. Although not applicable here, this is a common concern when a spouse is dealing with dementia or some of the mental frailties of age.
There was a way to meet his wishes, but it would not happen by accident. It certainly would not happen by leaving to the laws of Idaho to decide how his estate would be distributed. Yet, this is precisely what happens when someone dies without a will or other advance planning.
I drafted the necessary documents but, as we arranged for his signature, he suddenly and unexpectedly died.
The options to accomplish his wishes are now extremely limited and will require the cooperation of others willing to place his interests above their own. Experience tells me that we are not likely to receive all of the necessary cooperation.
As it relates to his estate plan, this result is tragic because it was so avoidable. When we become incapacitated or pass away, others will be significantly impacted. Life is not convenient enough to always give us the advance warning we may want. Failing to plan when we can too often results in burdening rather than helping those we leave behind.
© 2016 Steven J Wright
Tags: estate planning