In this Elder Law Minute, Wes Coulson explains how your will may state who you want your estate to go to, but there are other factors to keep in mind.
Hi! I’m Wes Coulson from Coulson Elder Law, proudly serving clients throughout the St. Louis metropolitan area and beyond. I’d like to welcome you to our Elder Law and Estate Planning Minute. We do these to help educate people, give them some little tips, and especially to let them know the questions they need to ask, things that they’ve maybe not thought of. Our thought on that is that we can help you best if you realize the things that you need help and that we can help you with. So I hope you enjoy. Thanks!
I think most people would like to assume that if they have a will that says, “I leave my estate, in equal shares, to my three children”, that, when they die, that whatever they own is going to be divided, in equal shares, among their three children. That’s your assumption, right? Unfortunately, that’s not always a correct assumption, and here’s why.
A will only controls the disposition of things that don’t have something else, in particular, that says what happens to them. So, what are those other things? Life insurance has beneficiary designation. IRAs have a beneficiary designation. If you set up any account as being POD, which is “Pay on Death”, or TOD, which is “Transfer on Death”, those accounts are going to go to the person that’s named there. And, the biggest one that fools people are joint tenancy accounts.
We have people that have, for instance, named, well put their oldest child’s name on all of their financial accounts, thinking well that’s convenient. Indeed, it may be convenient, but legally it likely also means that you’ve left everything in those accounts to that one child, and if they choose not to share, and it goes to court, they’re probably going to win. So, that’s why we tell people estate planning is not just about documents, it’s about taking a look at the big picture, and making sure that everything coordinates so that what you have done is going to accomplish what you intend it to do. Thanks!
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Coulson Elder Law is dedicated to providing families in the St. Louis area with their Elder Law needs. Our practice areas include Asset Preservation Planning, Veterans Benefits, Medicaid Eligibility, Alzheimer’s Planning, Special Needs Planning, Estate Planning and more. We understand the financial challenges you may face as you and your loved ones grow older. At Coulson Elder Law, our clients’ well-being is our number one priority. For immediate help, call (618) 632-7000 (IL) or (314) 567-9292 (MO), or Contact Us and we will get in touch as soon as possible.