Top Tips From an Atlanta Will and Trust Lawyer to Avoid IRA Beneficiary Form Mistakes

atlanta will and trust lawyer

Putting together a solid estate plan with your Atlanta will and trust lawyer is an important step in protecting the future of yourself and your family.  In order to make sure that things go the way you’ve planned, it’s a good idea to occasionally double check who you have listed on your IRA beneficiary form.

In order to keep things in line with your estate plan, remember that the beneficiary designation form may be the final voice on who gets your IRA.  That can happen, even if you and your estate planning lawyer have rewritten your will.  (Yes, the designation form can outrank your will!) If you’ve had a change in your relationship with the person you previously designated, you’re going to want to get that form changed.

This isn’t the only problem your will and trust lawyer in Atlanta might be able to identify when it comes to the beneficiary designation form.  For example, it’s actually pretty common for individuals to not even know where that form is, despite the fact that their IRA may be the most valuable thing they’re planning to leave behind.  If you haven’t seen a copy of your form in awhile (or ever), you or an Atlanta estate planning lawyer need to contact the IRA administrator and get a copy to keep somewhere appropriate.

When you get that copy, take the time to review it.  You may see that plenty has changed since you set up your IRA.  Children, divorces, spouses, and even grandchildren may have come into play since that time.  Along those lines, if you’ve lost a child but want to ensure that his or her family receives a portion of your IRA, you will need to list them on the form because a deceased child cannot inherit.  In fact, anytime a beneficiary has passed away, it will affect your estate.  You can make this a little less of an issue by making sure to name backup beneficiaries.

If one or more of your beneficiaries is under the age of 18, your Atlanta will and trust lawyer may advise you to use the IRA to fund a trust instead.  This will give you a whole lot more say in how the money gets used.  In fact, even if you are leaving it to someone older, a trust still might be the way to go for several compelling reasons.

These are just a few of the complications that can come along with not properly designating beneficiaries for your IRA.  There are others that might come into play, as well, and an Atlanta will and trust lawyer should be able to go through them with you to create the best plan possible.

How Does a Marietta Will and Trust Lawyer Protect Your Will From Being Contested?

How Does a Marietta Will and Trust Lawyer Protect Your Will From Being Contested?

Marietta Will and Trust Lawyer

While it doesn’t happen in real life as often as it does in the movies and on soap operas, Marietta GA wills and trusts lawyers do sometimes have to deal with a contested will.  Wills and trusts are created in order to ensure that a deceased’s wishes are followed, as well as for the financial benefit of heirs.  Additionally, they are often used to protect minor children or those with special needs.

When a will is contested, it’s usually by someone who feels that property left to the will or trust was not bequeathed appropriately.  In the case of children, someone may feel he or she is a better-suited guardian than the one a parent named.  It’s up to the Marietta wills and trusts lawyer to help ensure that the decedent’s wishes are carried out.  This may boil down to refuting claims made by others, but the most important job is to set the will or trust up properly to begin with.

When Can Someone Contest a Will?

There are several reasons that a will can be legitimately contested:

  • The decedent didn’t understand the choices he or she was making
  • There is a mistake in the will
  • It wasn’t properly executed (witnessed, etc.)
  • The decent was unduly pressured by someone else

Contesting a will is not easy.  Wills and trusts lawyers in Marietta and Cobb County do everything they can to make sure their client’s wishes are outlined according to the letter of the law in order to avoid just such a scenario.  It’s also possible for a testator (the person making the will) to include a no-contest clause.  The clause clearly indicates that anyone who contests the will forfeits their inheritance.  This isn’t a 100% guarantee that no one will contest it, but it does offer some incentive to better follow your wishes.  A Marietta Georgia wills and trusts lawyer can work with you to determine if this kind of clause might be beneficial.

When Can Someone Not Contest a Will?

There are reasons to contest a will, but “I don’t like what it says” is not one of them.  An individual isn’t allowed to simply drag everyone into court to change a will because he or she isn’t happy with the way the property has been distributed.  So, if your sister thinks she should have gotten your mother’s ring, but you left it to your daughter, the sister doesn’t have grounds to contest the will.  Additionally, only someone with a direct financial interest is allowed to contest it.  That means that a son-in-law cannot contest a will because he thinks his wife was treated unfairly.

Avoiding the Issue Altogether

The best approach, of course, is to work with an experienced Marietta wills and trusts lawyer who can set things up properly from the very beginning.  The estate plan should be comprehensive and not leave room for ambiguity to be exploited later.  Likewise, the attorney will make sure that each aspect of the process complies with applicable laws.  As for the testator, there are things he or she can do to reduce the likelihood of a will being contested, one of the most important of which is to share what the will says and what your reasons are with beneficiaries before you pass away.  This leads to less surprises later and also provides a better understanding of the decisions you have made.

Can Your Children’s Spouses Inherit from You? | Marietta GA Will and Trust Lawyer

Can Your Children’s Spouses Inherit from You? | Marietta GA Will and Trust Lawyer

mother daughter troubled marriageWill and trust lawyers in Marietta see plenty of situations where parents who love their children are not entirely in love with their children’s spouses.  This can make the estate planning process a little tricky, because the spouse can add tension and stir up drama that wouldn’t have been there otherwise.  While some people include their sons-and-daughters-in-law in the planning process, it’s not all that unusual to leave them out.

For the most part, the son-in-law or daughter-in-law isn’t even mentioned in the will.  They don’t really even have any legal standing to inherit from the parent unless they are specifically named.  So, the parent would name his or her own child, but not the child’s spouse.  If the adult child was no longer living, the property would probably end up being inherited by the grandchildren, rather than the spouse.

That’s not to say that a child’s spouse couldn’t end up with an inheritance.  If the parents were to leave assets to the adult child and then the adult child passed away, his or her property would likely go to the spouse, and that includes what was inherited from the parents.  One would hope that this property would eventually be passed on to the grandchildren (assuming there are grandchildren), but this is not a given, as the spouse would have the legal right to do whatever he or she wanted with it.  In fact, if the spouse remarried, his or her new spouse would be the legal choice to inherit any property that was left behind, including that which was inherited this way.

So, can a Marietta will and trust lawyer keep your child’s spouse out of your plan entirely?  Yes!  You can work with your attorney to develop an inheritance trust that will protect any money you leave your kids from divorce, lawsuits, and creditors and keeps your money in the family.

Creating an estate plan can be emotional and having the additional drama of a difficult personality certainly won’t help matters any.  On the other hand, you may absolutely adore your son-or-daughter-in-law and want to make sure that they are taken care of by your estate.  In those cases, you will want to make sure that your Marietta GA estate planning lawyer specifically mentions them and what they are inheriting for your own peace of mind.