Provisions can be added to your estate planning documents to prevent unnecessary bureaucracy. For example, the document can provide that if a beneficiary does not survive you by at least sixty days, that beneficiary will not be treated as surviving for the purposes of your estate. This provision alone could save the cost and delay of probating assets through the estate of the deceased beneficiary to get them to the actual recipient.
A survivorship clause also prevents an unintended distribution property. Lets look at an example. Suppose that John and Jane are a married couple with no children, and they have no will or trust. Under the law of intestacy, the distribution of property is determined according to the order of death. If an accident occurs and only one spouse survives, the surviving spouse inherits all property. If the surviving spouse lives for only a week due to injuries incurred in the accident, all assets are inherited by relatives of the second spouse to die, since the predeceased spouse’s relatives are not considered heirs of the spouse who survived one week. Since the spouse who survived legally owned all assets, only that spouse’s heirs receive receive an inheritance.
Many states have statutory requirements when it pertains to survivorship, but these requirements are generally very short. In addition, these laws could change at any time. By taking the time and placing a surviviorship clause in a will or trust, you can decide for yourself how long a beneficiary must survive for inheritance purposes.
It is of the utmost importance that wills and trusts are created according to statutory requirements, are clearly written, and encompass all aspects of the estate. Ambiguities can be costly and time consuming, since the person who executed the document is not available to answer questions regarding their intent due to his or her death. For this reason alone, seeking professional help with these documents is paramount and highly recommended.
If this post has made you, even for a second, question your estate plan, don’t delay in calling McAvoy & Murphy Law Firm. We will put your mine at ease and make sure the property and income you have acquired through years of hard work does not fall into the hands of Uncle Sam or into the hands of a person who does not deserve it.