Sometimes family members take advantage of people who are vulnerable. One way that they do so is financial abuse. A recent case in Washington has ruled what happens when the abuser is named as an heir in the will.
As mentioned in a recent Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog, titled “New Case: In Re Estate of Evans,” the Washington State Court of Appeals recently decided the case of In Re Estate of Evans. In the Evans case, the deceased’s child had financially abused the deceased. Under Washington law anyone who financially abuses a “vulnerable adult” cannot inherit under that person’s will. Many states have similar laws. What makes this case interesting is that the court applied Washington’s anti-lapse statute to determine who inherited the abuser’s share of the estate.
In the context of estate law, an anti-lapse statute provides that if someone is left something in a will and predeceases the person who made the will, then the inheritance passes to the descendants of the person to whom the will left the property. In the Evanscase, the abuser’s children received the inheritance. In effect, the court interpreted the will as if the abuser had passed away before the abused.
An important point for everyone to take away from this is the existence of the anti-lapse statute. If your will leaves something to someone who has passed away, then you need to think about whether you want that person’s descendants to receive the inheritance. Unless your will explicitly states otherwise, then they will. If that is not your desire, then you should have a new will drawn up. In reality, in the event one of your beneficiaries predeceases you, then you ought to consider drafting a new will just to clear up potential future confusion.
Reference: Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog (August 11, 2014) “New Case: In Re Estate of Evans”
I heard Cindy’s presentation at a Senior Luncheon at my church, and was very impressed. She helped my daughter and me understand many aspects of elder law. Josh has also been very helpful in my planning to enter an independent living situation . I have told many friends about them.
The very best elder law attorney and staff anyone could ever ask for! I have referred a number of clients to Cindy and she never disappoints. She is kind, caring, and extremely thorough in making sure everything is completed as it should be. I highly recommend Cindy for anyone needing lawyer services; she truly goes above and beyond for every client she helps and has had a huge impact in so many peoples’ lives. Thank you, Cindy and staff, for everything that you do- I’m so glad to know you!
Cindy and the Nelson Elder Care Law team are trustworthy and helpful. They are the experts in elder care law. At Leaf Cremation, we entrust our families to the care of the Nelson team when their services are needed.
Josh Nelson, and his staff, have been amazingly helpful to our family. The ins and outs of nursing homes, the rules and regulations that govern Medicare and Medicaid are daunting and the folks at Nelson Elder Care Law have been informative, responsive, and above all, empathetic. I cannot emphasize enough how their service has taken a weight off of our shoulders especially during a world pandemic that has targeted nursing homes across our country. I highly recommend retaining Josh and his firm!
I had a simple legal question to them that I needed answered and they very helpful in giving me the information I needed. I highly recommend them and will reach out to them if I need more advice or assistance. Thank you for taking your time to just answer a couple of questions I had!