You Discover Your Spouse Has A Serious Chronic Illness & After Recovering From The Shock, You Begin Thinking Of Your Future & Your Documents
The only thing you have is an old will you paid $150 for when your kids were in preschool. After you ask around a little, you get in front of an estate planning attorney to “get your affairs in order.” After a meeting and a signing of some documents, you pick up your trust document and will.
Whew. Everything Is Fine Now.
Sadly, your spouse passes away after a serious health battle. Sooner than later, you find out that your accounts did not get set up correctly, the way you intended them.
All is not fine.
Can this happen?
IT HAPPENS ALL OF THE TIME.
Because our firm also handles probate, we see it all too often.
For instance, we have a client who was married to her husband for 10 years. It was a second marriage and they had no children together. Her husband had two kids from a previous marriage and they met with another attorney immediately after the diagnosis. Both had agreed that her husband’s assets would be divided one-third each to her and his two children. When her husband passed, she tried to get the 401(l) to send the children’s portions to them, but learned that the financial company in charge of the 401 (k) was required to distribute the account to the most recent beneficiary on file which was her. Even though she was able to roll the 401(k) into her own IRA, and then withdraw the portion for the kids AFTER paying the tax, this could have been much smoother and less costly.
The beneficiary form had not been updated. Had they worked with an experienced estate planning attorney in the first place, the form would have been handled correctly and the taxes would have been FAR LESS.
We can help avoid these kind of costly mistakes. Estate planning and probate–it’s ALL WE DO at Keystone Law Firm.