YOUR PARENTS WILL AND YOUR RIGHTS
THEIR WILL AND THE WILL
I don't claim to be a lawyer or to know all about the laws, but I do know how those laws effect real people in their real lives.
When your parents get older, and if they have money or valuables, they do estate planning. This gives them the feeling that their wishes will be carried out after they are gone, and that they have taken care of their family. In a good world, that happens and in a even better world, it follows through. But, not in my world.
My parents did estate planning, they did a set of wills that gave away certain property to certain people and they went over the provisions of how it was to be given to us such as bonds and bank accounts the business and investments. They divided up their home and land property among us children and grandchild. They died thinking this would be carried out. It wan not.
Because of greed within my family, they (the greedy ones), decided not to use the real and last will that my father left for his wishes. But instead used a will that had been created in 1978. He died in 1994. He had done his estate planning in 1991. The will that they used did not include the business or the properties that went with it because they had sold them at the time they wrote that will. They got that property back in 1988, my grandmother died in 1989, my father got sicker in 1990. It makes since that they would have changed their estate plans in 1991. But they used a will that was this so that they could keep claim on the properties and the business that my father left me and I had worked at since I was a child. All of the revenue and savings and business profits went with it.
INVOLVE YOUR WHOLE FAMILY
None of the bad situations the underhanded dealings on our documents caused our family to go through would have been allowed to happen the way it did, if only one other person had been informedof the estate actions or plans. One person had the knowledge of any of the signed documents. changes or with setting up the banks and other investments. That one person happened to be the one and only person that got any of it. Even everything that had been specifically designated for someone else. If the family would have been included with these plans than more people would have known what was going on there were not have been the changes wrongfull,ly made.
LAWYERS CREATE DOCUMENTS THAT YOU ASK THEM TO MAKE
If only one person is asking for documents, it is real easy to get the documents they want. Right or wrong, if nobody else is there to oppose them, the lawyer has to assume that it is ok. If that one person has their own interest in mind above everybody else, then you can bet that they are going to get it their way. When nobody else is there to say any different. You would think that the lawyer might think it odd that there are other family members who are in the will, but they have never seen or talked to them. And then when drastic changes start to take place in the will and plans, and only one family member is involved, and the parent is older, 80 or 90, you would think that might throw up a red flag. But, unless given a reason to doubt, they will only be interested in what they are paid to be interested in. Nothing further. Do not expect that professionals will act on your behalf in these situations, they might, but probably not. You will have to.
PREVENTION OVER CORRECTION
If you are the parent, the best way to prevent your estate plans from being changed behind your back or in secret or through tricks of the trade, it is best to talk to all members of your family that have an interest in your estate or that will be affected in their lives by your death. OK, sounds kinda gross, the kids wont want to talk about it, it will make you feel uncomfortable, but do it. Make them do it. You will all be better off in the end, pardon the pun.
Something that you may have never given much thought to, ..., the difference of the power given to the words "and" and "or". In a bank account that you share with your children or child or anyone as far as that goes, it makes a big difference. NAME and NAME means no major action in that bank account can be acted on unless both people are present and sign for it to happen. NAME or NAME means that either one of you can do as much as the other one. AND takes two people, OR takes just one. Either one.
Then you also have JOIINT accounts where each person is equal in the account, and you have an account of yours, with someone other person authorized to sign for that account. Meaning the account can be in two peoples names, they can sign the checks, sign for withdraws, or whatever, BUT, the account is yours, and the money in it is yours. The only way that they can get that money if you die is with giving them the survivor ship rights. They get the money in the account, and then the account becomes theirs. If a joint account is with three people for example, and one of them dies, either of the two people left can withdraw the money out. Who ever gets there first. If that person takes all of it, and the other person gets none, that is legal. Unless you make provisions in your bank accounts relationships agreement.
You can and should talk to your bankers and make sure that the way your bank account is set up will accomplish what you want it to. A little thing like putting a "2" where it says how many signatures will it take in order to withdraw a lot of money. ex. ____ signatures needed. Put a 2. This simple means, and you can word it how you want, that for example, it will take 2 signatures for any one person to do a action in the account such as withdraw large sums of money, or move it, or close it or add someones else's name to it, or take away a persons name, or just about anything that changes the account in a big way. Talk to your bank, especially if you are old, (no offense), and find out what's going on in your bank account when you are not around. Make sure you keep control over you and your families money and other assets. You wont be sorry, and neither will any other member in your family. Unless of course, there is a member that had plans for taking more than their share of it, because this would surely put a cramp in their program. By not being able to put a cramp in yours.
I hope this might help at least one person to take a second look at the provisions laid it in their estate planning, their will or at least their bank accounts. If one person ask questions about their situation they might be loosing control over. If one person even thinks about their place in life, in the family, in thier wishes and realizes everything is fine, if it makes one person take a second look at what other people are making them sign, then it will be worth any amount of time I spent to say this, or you spent to read it. Please provide a comment, tell us about your plans and what you are doing about making sure they happen when you are not here anymore to do them.