Each and every day, children are unintentionally disinherited and receive nothing when their parent dies. If you’re like most people, this is not what you want. Here are two examples illustrating how children are disinherited.
Jim and Susan have a long happy marriage. They have been married for 32 years and have four children, all boys. Jim has a heart attack and dies. He and Susan owned everything jointly so at his death, Susan inherited all of the assets.
Several years later, Susan remarries and puts all of her assets in joint tenancy with her new husband, Fred. Susan is killed by a drunk driver. Fred and Susan owned everything jointly so at her death, Fred inherited everything, automatically and by operation of law.
Fred now owns all of the assets that originally belonged to Jim and Susan. When Fred dies, where do his assets go? To Fred’s children, of course, and Jim and Susan’s four boys inherit nothing.
This is not what Jim and Susan would have wanted. Their four children were unintentionally disinherited.
Sam and his brother, Ethan, own the family vacation home in joint tenancy. They each have a wife and children. Sam dies. Ethan inherits the family vacation home automatically, by operation of law.
Sam’s wife and their children have no rights to or ownership of the family vacation home, yet they are responsible for estate and inheritance taxes due on the transfer of the home from Sam to Ethan.
When Ethan dies, his wife and children will inherit the home. Again, Sam’s wife and children receive nothing. They have been unintentionally disinherited. This is not what Sam would have wanted.
If you have questions about estate planning, joint ownership, and avoiding disinheriting your children, consult with a qualified and experienced estate planning attorney.
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