If a will is overlooked, state law and beneficiary designations on financial accounts or property will control what happens next.
The Williamson Daily News’ recent article entitled “Estate planning ensures your wishes are carried out” explains that intestate succession, which means the deceased didn’t have a will, isn’t always a simple process. For example, there might be issues with multiple marriages with children.
If only living children survive the decedent, the children will get equal shares. That may or may not be a fantastic idea, especially when all of the children may not have been a positive part of their parent’s life.
If some helped a lot and others caused problems, a parent might opt to give more to some than to others. The best way to assure that result is with a will.
That’s especially true in cases where one or more of the children served as the caregiver. Thus, the intent of the parent may be to pass the family home to the primary caregiver.
In some states, for this to occur, a will is no longer needed.
For example, in West Virginia, a property transfer called a transfer on death deed can make sure that a specific person or caregiver gets the home and property at a future time.
You need to work with an experienced estate planning attorney on a transfer on death deed.
Under the terms of the deed, the property ownership won’t change until the owner dies. The transfer to the new owner will then be automatic without any probate.
At any time during the owner’s life, the TOD deed can be revoked, if circumstances change.
In addition to West Virginia, these states have some form of transfer on death deed: Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Maine, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington, Wisconsin, Wyoming and DC.
Reference: Williamson (WV) Daily News (April 21, 2021) “Estate planning ensures your wishes are carried out”