Proper Planning Prevents Problems | Ask The Attorney

That’s what my father said and my father was right. One problem that we have seen recurring for over 30 years needs to be addressed, namely the property or assets of financial institutions.

Surely a will reflects a person’s final wishes made while he was alive. It is easy to think of how to divide property between spouses and children. Things get a little more complicated when we want to give a certain gift like a ring, but that too is really not difficult. We all know and agree that leaving your family will save a lot of money and time. A will makes things easy.

What people generally fail to realize is that many different types of assets are not controlled by the terms of a will.

If you want all of your financial wealth to be divided equally between your children and you include this in your will, that’s fine. What happens in real life is one parent puts a child on the account and the account says the survivor will get the account. The people at the bank won’t explain this to you, but it’s always in the fine print because they’re not in an argument about whose money it is. The fact is, you really gave the money in that account to the one child in the account. Most of the time, children know their parents’ intentions and are doing the right thing, but when they don’t, it causes harsh feelings.

Life insurance policies have a beneficiary. If your primary asset is an insurance policy, whoever you designate as the beneficiary will receive the insurance proceeds. These earnings will not be divided according to the terms of your will. You can pay an insurance policy for your assets, which will then be split according to the terms of the will, but only if you name your assets as the beneficiary.

The point is that when you are thinking about the division of your property, proper planning of assets held by banks and insurance companies requires separate, proper planning.

Buckle up, wash your hands and as always, your recommendations will be appreciated! 256-764-0112

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