Legal documents, such as wills and powers of attorney, can help you control and protect your property. However, most fail to use their legal documents to their advantage. Many fail to realize that their legal documents don’t work the way that they expect or intend with their overarching estate plan. If done correctly along with proper planning, your legal documents can keep your family in harmony after your death.
In this episode, Bill tells the story of a client who had an asset protection plan undone by incorrect legal documents.
People often think that a last will and testament trumps every other document. While a will is important, this is generally not the case. For example, many husbands and wives own their property jointly. When a husband and wife own a home in North Carolina, the survivor normally will own the house as stated on the deed. This is the case regardless of what their Wills say. Likewise, if you leave everything in your Will to your spouse but designate your children as beneficiaries of your life insurance policy, your children will receive the life insurance. This is true regardless of the language in your will. Finally, if you have a joint account at the bank with one of your children, that child is entitled to half or all of the account. This is the case even if your Will leaves your assets to all of your children equally, because your contract with the bank trumps the will.
If you or your loved one needs assistance with your legal documents, or if you have questions about government assistance programs such as Medicaid or Veteran’s Benefits or other Special Needs programs, consider W.G. Alexander & Associates – we offer a unique blend of asset protection, Elder Law and estate planning. You can also attend our free seminars, learn more through our website at www.wgalaw.com, or call us at (919) 256-7000.