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Helping People Age with Dignity

Keeping the unexpected in mind when it comes to your will

Many people have certain expectations about their eventual death. This includes assumptions about who they will die before and who will die before them. When a person forms a will, these expectations often inform their primary plans for what will happen with their assets when they die, such as who they designate as beneficiaries.

However, sometimes, things end up going differently on this front than a person was assuming. Examples of such unexpected events include:

  • A beneficiary dying before them.
  • Them and a beneficiary dying in close proximity to each other.
  • Them and a beneficiary dying at the same time.
  • All their beneficiaries dying before them.

When these types of unexpected events aren’t addressed in a will, these sorts of events could wreak havoc on a person’s efforts to have their wishes control the distribution of assets upon their death. They could result in an asset distribution very different from what the person had planned for or would have wanted. So, when it comes to wills, thinking about what one would want to have happen if things don’t go as they plan when it comes to what beneficiaries are alive at the time of their death can be important.

There are a range of clauses and terms that can be put into a will to address the possibility of unexpected events like the ones listed above occurring. When it comes to using these types of terms and clauses to come up with contingency plans in one’s will, properly taking into account one's particular circumstances can be important. Skilled attorneys can assist individuals with developing well-tailored contingency plans in their wills to address the possibility of unexpected events.

Source: CNBC, “Why your estate needs a 'Titanic clause',” Kelli B. Grant, Jan. 10, 2017

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