Tuesday, March 5, 2019

Before You Cash In Your Chips, Write a Will (Part 3)

By Marie Bradby

Preparing a will seems to be the hardest task for people to check off the list of important things to do. Many people don’t think they have enough assets, or they can’t face their mortality, or they think it’s too complicated.

Aretha Franklin, Prince, and other famous people have died without wills. Their estates will be tied up in the state courts for years and will cost a lot of money in taxes and fees, and it will be confusing to unravel who the deceased wanted to have their assets. Here’s the thing, without a will — your small estate will, too.

“Whether there is a will or not, if you leave less than half of your estate to your spouse, the surviving spouse can go to the judge and say I want my marital half,” says Lee Cave, an estate planning attorney.

But, “if you die without a will and your spouse ends up with half and the children get half, that’s still probably not the way you want it. You meant for your spouse to get it all. She and the children may need it to live on. If the children are minors, the money is locked up until they are 18. It can’t even be used to raise them.”

Bypassing a will with beneficiary designations can help.

“There is a big exception to all of this,” Lee says. “Wills don’t control everything. A lot of people die and their wills are irrelevant because they have beneficiary designations on their accounts. It takes the place of your will.

“A will will not control checking accounts, savings, retirement, and other accounts with beneficiary designations.”

Extra tidbit: Read more about the benefits of writing a will in part two of this feature.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...