Estate Plan Horror Stories!

I love October, I love fall, I love Halloween! In that vain, I’ve put together a few estate plan horror stories. The telling of these stories is light hearted and fun, these unfortunate situations happen all the time! I tell these stories so you and your loved ones don’t end up in the same heart wrenching situations.

The Tale of the Ex Spouse Estate Plan Revenge

Mr. X was a single dad who just survived a terrible, high conflict divorce from his ex-wife and mother of his three children.  Unfortunately, tragedy struck. Mr. X passed away suddenly and left behind a sizable estate. He never got around to creating a will or trust and died intestate. This left the court to decide who would manage the inheritance left behind for his young children. As a result, the court appointed the kid’s Mother, his ex-wife, to managed the children’s inheritances. Arguably, she is the last person he would have ever want in charge of his money.

Moral of this story:  After divorce update or create an estate plan ASAP. You never know when tragedy could strike! 

The Tale of an Empty Estate Plan Trust

Mr. & Mrs. Dracula set up a trust with their lawyer for the benefit of their son, Vlad.  Unfortunately, their lawyer’s office never gave them instructions for properly titling and transferring their assets into the trust.  When their untimely demise came, the trust was empty. As a result, their son took the trust to probate court and to pay an attorney to help him get their assets moved into to the trust. The process took months.

Moral of the story:  Work with an attorney who helps make sure the trust is properly funded after creation. Otherwise, the trust will not work as it was intended!

The Legend of the Abandoned Heirs  

This story is based on a real life horror story! Famous movie director John Singleton had a son and created a will leaving his vast fortune to him.  Great!  The only problem?  Mr. Singleton went on to have six more children with different women, and never updated his will! This left six of his seven children disinherited and left to challenge their inheritance in probate court. Unfortunately, the court case took years.

Moral of the story:  When you have any major life change, update your estate plan. This includes marriage, birth, divorce, new inheritances, new businesses or selling a business.

The Curse of the Common Law Marriage

Carrie and Norman lived happily together as a couple for many,  many years. Suddenly Norman, a motel owner, passed away without a will or trust to pass on his estate to his beloved Carrie.  Because Florida does not recognize common law marriage and he died without a will, Carrie was disinherited and left without a claim to Norman’s estate.

Moral of the Story:  If you are not married, but you want to protect your partner or other non-relatives in the event of your death, you need to create an estate plan.

The final moral of the story: An estate plan is a lasting gift you can leave your loved ones. Upon your death, whether it’s suddenly or not, your family has instructions of how to proceed forward with your assets and affairs. They won’t be left to flounder through probate court while processing their grief.

Contact my office for a free Estate Planning Consultation today so we can get estate planning off your to do list!