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‘I Love You’ Estate Planning

Many estate plans fall into the “I love you” estate plan.  This isn’t always how it goes, but it’s the rule rather than the exception, according to nwi.com’sarticle “Estate Planning: Excluding a loved one from the plan.”

The exceptions are mainly because the family dynamic requires it.  For instance, the person is not married or doesn’t have children.  However, sometimes even a regular old-fashioned “Mom and Dad and Brother and Sister” family has a reason why one or more of the kids are left out of the will.

If someone needs to be excluded, for whatever reason, your elder law attorney will create a will that accomplishes this.  Some people think that instead of excluding someone entirely, they should leave something small, or that they are required to leave something, and the best solution is to leave $1.  That’s not true and could lead to problems with settling the estate.

The person who is most problematic to exclude from your estate, is your spouse.  They have certain legal rights that are not easily overcome.

Another common question concerns the “no contest” term.  These clauses provide that if anyone challenges the will, there is a penalty.  Some states do not recognize this clause, so there’s no point to using it.  Your elder law attorney will know the laws for your state and be able to advise you about whether you can use this to exclude someone from your will.

The bottom line: your will should reflect your wishes and accomplish your goals.  If a family member has a problem, such as a substance abuse problem or is not able to manage money, an elder law attorney can work with you to either exclude them from your will, create a trust with guidelines (i.e., requirements to be engaged in a rehab program or be gainfully employed) or distribute your assets at certain periods of time.

Speak with an elder law attorney to discuss your family’s situation.  The attorney has heard and seen pretty much every family situation and will be able to prepare an plan that will help your family, while you are living and when you have passed.

Resource: nwi.com(Aug. 5, 2018)“Estate Planning: Excluding a loved one from the plan”

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