Could an Out-of-Date Will Leave You Facing Eviction?

It’s all too common, but unfortunately the way some lawyers handle their clients’ estate plans create more problems than solutions for future generations.

It’s critical that you understand exactly what will happen after you become incapacitated or when you die, to ensure that the people you love don’t end up cleaning up an estate planning nightmare while also grieving your passing.

A few years ago in Columbus, Ohio, a mom of four kids was not only grieving the death of her mother, but was also facing eviction from her home.

Here’s how it happened: Grandma signed a will in mid-2015 putting all of her assets in trust for the education of her six grandchildren. She indicated that her local bank should manage those assets for the benefit of the education of those grandchildren. That seemed like a great thing to do, right?

Right. Except that in 2016, Grandma then bought a home for one of her daughters and her daughter’s four children. And she didn’t update her will.

Unfortunately, this oversight is far too common due to the way many lawyers serve their clients. Their estate plans are often just focused on the documents and the one-time transaction, rather than ensuring they work with their clients on an ongoing basis, updating those documents each time life changes or asset changes occur.

So now, the daughter that was living in the house with her four children faced being evicted. Because the bank was tasked with providing for the education of the children, the bank put the house up for sale with the intention of putting the proceeds in trust for their education. Then, once they turned 21, they would get a distribution of whatever was left.

It’s hard to imagine that Grandma would have wanted this outcome for her daughter and four of her grandchildren. But without a clear plan that documented Grandma’s wishes (which could have included her daughter paying rent to the trust account for the benefit of all the grandchildren) the bank was within its right to evict the daughter and the four grandkids.

It’s a sad, sad tale. And one that could have been easily avoided if Grandma’s lawyer had foreseen the potential issues and supported grandma to update her will.

When is the last time you had your estate plan reviewed? Have you developed a relationship with a trusted lawyer who you feel confident has your back and will make sure that your kids aren’t facing eviction or some other unexpected mess after your incapacity or death? If not, now is the time.

This article is a service of Legacy Counsel PLC, a trusts and estates law firm in Saint Joseph, Michigan. We don’t just draft documents; we ensure that you make informed and empowered decisions about life and death, for yourself and the people you love. That’s why we offer a Life and Legacy Planning Session, during which you will get more financially organized than you’ve ever been before and become empowered to make all the best choices for the people you love. You can begin by calling our office today at 269-932-4017 to schedule a Life and Legacy Planning Session. Or you can schedule your appointment online here. Mention this article to find out how to get this $750 session at no charge.