Tuesday, March 5, 2019

Before You Cash In Your Chips, Write a Will (Part 2)

By Marie Bradby

“If someone owns joint property, the deed will say the surviving spouse will automatically become the owner of the house,” says Eileen Walsh, an elder law attorney and owner/partner of Elder Law of Louisville. “So it’s important to know how assets (bank accounts, cars, boats, etc.) are owned and titled.” But if not held jointly, those assets don’t automatically go to the surviving spouse.

“For the majority of people, not having a will can be dangerous to their families,” says Lee Cave, an estate planning attorney. “I tell people: ‘Everyone has an estate plan.’ They say, ‘No, I don’t. I haven’t even been to a lawyer.’ And I say, ‘The state has one for you. It’s the government default plan.’

“And the government plan is not good for most people,” he says. “Your estate probably won’t go to the people you want it to. You need to write your own plan to get it to the people you want,” Lee says.

Extra tidbit: Read more about the benefits of writing a will in part 1 of this feature.

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