Save Money Like You Will Break The World Record For Longevity, But Write Your Will Like You Will Die Young
Estate planning is an act of love. You do it so that you can reduce stress for your family in your old age, accounting for the possibility that your family will make decisions about your care and your finances. You save as much money as you can so that you will not have to depend on your children financially after you retire, and so that you will be able to help your children and grandchildren with expenses if they need help. Even if you own nothing, the least your will should do is definitively state whether you want your body to be buried or cremated and where you want the final resting place of your remains to be; disagreements about these matters can cause long-lasting rifts among family members. Sometimes young people write their wills hastily when something happens that reminds them that anyone can die at any moment, for example a health scare or an obituary announcing the death of a celebrity close in age to the testator. Writing a will when you are young is much better than not writing one, but it is a mistake to assume that you will never need to revise it. An Orlando estate planning lawyer can help you if a lot has changed since you wrote your will.
The Dangers of “I Love You” Wills
Estate planning lawyers sometimes use the term “I love you wills” to refer to an estate planning strategy in which married couples often engage when their children are minors. In this strategy, each spouse writes a will that says something like, “If I die first, my spouse inherits my entire estate. If my spouse predeceases me, our children inherit equal shares of our estate.”
This strategy works well if both spouses live to an advanced age, but it poses problems if one of them dies while the other still has decades left to live. If you remarry without revising your will, and you predecease your new spouse, you are setting your children up for an ugly round of stepchild wars during probate. What if your spouse dies before the AARP even comes knocking, and you remarry and have another child? Do you really want to disinherit your youngest child or set your youngest child up for a probate battle with his or her siblings?
An alternative to revising an “I love you” will that you wrote when you and your first spouse were still young and healthy is to sign a prenuptial agreement with your new spouse or to transfer property to your new spouse outside of probate. An estate planning lawyer can help you choose the best strategy for your family.
Contact Gierach and Gierach About Realizing That Your Young Self Did Not Know Everything
An estate planning lawyer can help you if decades have gone by since you last updated your estate plan. Contact Gierach and Gierach, P.A. in Orlando, Florida to discuss your case.