Most people know who they want to receive their property and possessions when they pass away, so why don’t people make their wishes known by preparing an estate plan?

Susan had been married to her husband, Adam, for nearly thirteen years when he unexpectedly passed away as a result of heart failure. Three years prior to Adam’s death, Adam and Susan sold their previous home and purchased a beautiful home in Davis County, Utah. Adam and Susan lived in “their home” with two of Susan’s children from a previous marriage. Adam had three children of his own, but had not had any contact with them in over fifteen years. When Adam and Susan purchased their home, Adam was the sole borrower on the mortgage and the sole owner of “their home” according to the county property records. Adam and Susan believed that if one of them were to pass away, “their home” and all their property and possessions would belong to the survivor. For this reason, Adam and Susan felt it was unnecessary to prepare an estate plan.

Adam and Susan would have been correct under ordinary circumstances, but unfortunately Adam and Susan overlooked two very important details: First, Susan was never added as a joint owner of “their home”. Second, Adam had three children from a prior marriage. Because Adam did not have an estate plan, Susan is now forced to file a probate and may be forced to share some of Adam’s property and possessions with his three children, including some of the equity in the home where Susan and her two children continue to reside.

Having a proper estate plan is the best and most effective way to ensure your property and possessions end up with the people you want to receive them. DO NOT avoid or delay making your wishes known. Prepare your estate plan today.

(Note: we do not disclose the identities, stories and confidences of our clients. While stories in this blog may describe real events and real people, we alter names and facts to protect the true identities of the people involved.)