Why Your Last Will May Not Be Executed According To Your Plans
A last will is useful in determining how your estate is divided among your beneficiaries after a divorce. However, do not assume that it will be followed exactly to the letter. Your state's interstate laws will also play a role in determining who gets what. Here are four reasons why your will may not be executed exactly as you wished:
You Have To Pay Tax
Few things are as inevitable as taxation; if the government says that you have to pay it, then you can't escape. There are probate and estate taxes; the former applies to all properties that pass through probate, while the latter applies to estates worth at least $5.43 million. Therefore, if you have left all your properties to your will's beneficiaries, know that the government will have to deduct its portion before the rest is distributed.
Certain Assets Must Go To Your Spouse
Depending on your state, there are certain assets that must go to your spouse. For example, in a community state, your spouse is automatically granted the rights to a half of the property earned during your marriage. Therefore, if you leave her or him less than half of your community property, then the will is invalid. Even in non-community property states, there may be rules giving your spouse anything from a third to a half of your estate.
Your Minor Child Still Has a Claim
Most states have laws that prohibit disinheritance of minor children. For example, your state's laws may give your minor child a portion of your estate even if you haven't specified it. In some cases, a portion of the estate may be set aside to take care of the child until he or she reaches the age of majority. Disinheriting your minor child, or "accidentally" leaving him or her out of the will, will not change this.
Your Pre-Divorce Will May Be Invalidated
You should also know that the last will you wrote during your marriage may be invalidated if you divorce but die before changing the will. In most cases, portions of the will not related to your spouse remains intact. Therefore, it's good to change your will after a divorce whether or not you intend to leave things to your former partner. That way the court understands that the contents of the will are indeed your wishes, despite the divorce.
This is one of the reasons you are advised to involve an attorney, such as those at Rosenmeier Law Office, while writing a will. The lawyer will help you understand all these requirements and laws. This is an essential step if you want your wishes to be carried out as closely as possible.