We just read about a pretty tragic story that happened in the United States.
A man had remarried after his first wife had passed away. He had children with his first wife, who were all adults. His adult children and his new wife were not on the best terms. The man had only been married for a short time and had just recently retired. Not long after his retirement, he required hospitalization and sadly passed away.
The man had died without a Will. In Massachusetts, the estate goes to the spouse if there is no Will. Here’s the issue: his widow didn’t mention any details of the estate to her children. Why? She wanted to be financially secure for the rest of her life.
The children were left with nothing.
By not having a Will, none of the children ever saw any of the wealth that really should have been theirs. They didn’t talk to the ex-wife for years after that. It’s a sad story, but things like this are common.
We aren’t in Massachusetts, but events like this happen here as well. Sometimes it’s because the deceased has no Will, and other times it is because the Will is poorly drafted or has not been updated.
If you don’t say it, then why should it happen?
You could have all the good intentions in the world regarding what you want done with your estate after you die, but that alone is not enough.
It’s a painful situation to sit across from a grieving family member and tell them that they’ve missed out because the Will was poorly planned, not up-to-date, or simply not there. People have lost properties, homes, sentimental items and substantial amounts of wealth all because of simple estate planning mistakes that could have been easily avoided.
Make sure when you plan your estate you work with a team who is up to date with the law, who knows about the complications that can arise with estate planning, and can help you ensure your family gets the best deal possible after you are gone.