There are several important aspects to a creating a fully-functioning estate plan in Georgia. The creation of a will is obviously an incredibly important foundational piece of a well-rounded plan. However, keeping one’s will up to date can be equally as important, especially if a person divorces his or her partner and remarries.
Without proper care and forethought, estate litigation can easily become messy. According to various studies, the divorce rate in the United States varies between 40 to 50 percent, and due to increased longevity, many people who divorce also remarry. In this situation, there can be many unforeseen legal consequences.
For example, issues could arise regarding beneficiaries of someone’s personal belongings. Personal possessions typically do not have a proof of ownership, like homes or vehicles. Many times, a parent may verbally bequeath an heirloom such as jewelry or a piece of furniture to a child or a friend, but this could be almost impossible to prove when he or she passes away if it is not specified in the will.
Second husbands or wives could also dishonestly tell the court that they had participated in the purchase of a certain item, or that the deceased had promised the items to them. This could result in legal consequences and strife with children or others to whom the property was intended. The article suggests prenuptial agreements as a way to mitigate this situation. Additionally, issues may arise if a person and his or her second spouse pass away at the same time or shortly apart. The article discusses a case where the children of a woman (from a previous marriage) claimed entitlement to all of a man’s property because the woman inherited all of the property during the few days that she lived past the man’s death.
Estate administration is an incredible complex matter, and most people in Georgia seek the counsel of an attorney who is experienced in estate planning and litigation. By creating a close partnership with an attorney, a person could be able to avoid many of the pitfalls and challenges that come from a lack of an up-to-date will. Attorneys in this area of law will be able to guide their clients in creating the most comprehensive will that can cover many of the legal issues that arise from multiple marriages.
Source: nasdaq.com, “Estate Planning Mishaps: How Even The Family Bible Is At Stake”, Accessed on Nov. 30, 2016