Estate planning is not a one-and-done legal task for Nevada residents, and the earlier in life you create a will or other estate-related document, the more times throughout the years you should review it. Always review wills when major financial or life changes occur, and consider reviewing documents annually to ensure your feelings on estate matters remain the same. For a woman in another state, using a self-service legal form and failing to review and make changes to that form resulted in debates about how the estate should be divided.
According to court records, the woman used a self-service legal form to create a will in 2004. In that will, she provided a detailed list of items to be inherited by her sister. Those items included a home, contents, life insurance policy, IRA, vehicle, and bank accounts. The woman also stated that, should her sister proceed her in death, those items should be inherited by the woman’s son.
The sister not only proceeded the woman in death, but left her a number of assets. Though court records indicate that a hand-written “addendum” to the will was found, the note did not qualify under the laws of the state as a legal change to her will. The note, which was dated in 2008, reiterated that all of the woman’s possessions should pass to her son and named an executor.
Because her original will addressed only her assets prior to inheriting from her sister, the woman’s estate was in question upon her death. After several court decisions, the property associated with the later inheritance passed to the woman’s son and nieces jointly, according to state law.
Estate planning requires an understanding of legal rules in your state. It also requires occasional review of documents to ensure nothing needs to be added or changed in your will.
Source: Forbes, “Careful, Thoughtful Drafting Essential In Estate Planning” Stephen Dunn, Apr. 07, 2014