It’s all too common, but unfortunately the way some lawyers handle their clients’ estate plans create more problems than solutions for future generations.
It’s critical that you understand exactly what will happen after you become incapacitated or when you die, to ensure that the people you love don’t end up cleaning up an estate planning nightmare while also grieving your passing.
In 2017, a mom of four kids in Columbus, Ohio was not only grieving the death of her mother, but also faced eviction from her home.
Here’s how it happened: Grandma signed a will in mid-2015 putting all of her assets in trust for the education of her six grandchildren. She indicated that her local bank should manage those assets for the benefit of the education of those grandchildren. That seems like a great thing to do, right?
Right. Except that then in 2016, Grandma then bought a home for one of her daughters and her daughter’s four children. And she didn’t update her will. Unfortunately, this oversight is far too common due to the way many lawyers serve their clients. Their estate plans are often just focused on the documents and the one-time transaction, rather than ensuring they work with their clients on an ongoing basis, updating those documents each time life changes or asset changes occur.
So now, the daughter that is living in the house with her four children is being evicted. The bank was tasked with providing for the education of the children, so the bank is now selling the house with the intention of putting the money in trust for their education. Then, when they turn 21, they will get a distribution of whatever is left.
It’s hard to imagine that Grandma would have wanted this outcome for her daughter and four of her grandchildren. But without a clear plan that documents Grandma’s wishes, which could have included her daughter paying rent to the trust account for the benefit of all the grandchildren, the bank is within its right to evict the daughter and the four grandkids.
It’s a sad, sad tale. And one that could have been easily avoided if Grandma’s lawyer had foreseen the potential issues and supported grandma to update her will.
When is the last time you had your estate plan reviewed? Have you developed a relationship with a trusted lawyer who you feel confident has your back and will make sure that your kids aren’t facing eviction or some other unexpected mess after your incapacity or death? If not, now is the time.
This article is a service of Olivia G. Lee, Personal Family Lawyer® located in Virginia. We don’t just draft documents, we ensure you make informed and empowered decisions about life and death, for yourself and the people you love. That's why we offer a Family Wealth Planning Session,™ during which you will get more financially organized than you’ve ever been before, and make all the best choices for the people you love. You can begin by calling our office today to schedule a Family Wealth Planning Session and mention this article to find out how to get this $750 session at no charge.