In previous posts, we've discussed how many people would benefit considerably from having a simple will in place. That's because this legally binding document allows a person to set forth their exact wishes concerning how they want their money, real estate and personal belongings to be divided, as well appoint guardians for any minor children.
A man’s son’s are involved in litigation over their late father’s estate after his sudden death prevented him from completing an updated estate plan. The man had drafted a plan in 2000 that was complete and properly executed but decided to change it dramatically in 2012, diverting funds that he had planned to leave to his real estate development company to a charitable trust he named for his dog. Unfortunately the man passed away suddenly, just four days after checking with attorneys to see when he could sign the final papers to finish the process.
Estate planning is one of the areas of the law where the formalities matter immensely. Take proper will execution, for example, where one must have the right paperwork at the right time with appropriate witnesses in order for the will to be valid. It is not enough to simply tell someone your last wishes or even to have an attorney draw up a will. If it is not properly executed it will not be accepted by the court and enforced through the probate sytem.