My Father Passed Away Without a Will or a Trust—Now What?
Asset and Inheritance Protection Without a Will
We recently had a client whose father passed away without a will or a trust. She didn’t realize that there were other ways assets could be passed on to heirs. After reviewing all of her father’s assets we explained that his IRA’s would pass directly to her mother as she was the named beneficiary on those accounts. As that is what her father intended our client was very happy.
There were other assets however that her father did not title correctly in order to accomplish the desires he had made known to his daughter. He titled his home jointly with his daughter because she helped him with paying bills & maintaining the home. He felt this would make it easier for her to make important decisions in the case that he could not. Our client knew that her father wanted her and her sister to take care of their mother first and then split everything 50/50 once she passed. Unfortunately because our client’s father owned the house jointly with only one daughter, only one daughter would inherit the property.
There were other accounts that our client’s father owned that were in his name only. He had an individual brokerage account that was not beneficiary driven. This means that there was no plan in place for the distribution of this asset. He also had a checking account with only his name on it that contained most of their cash. Unfortunately each of the accounts had been frozen until our client could probate her father’s estate. This meant that not only did the family have to spend extra time and money when their loved one passed but also meant that all of their assets were public record. Our client knew this was not something her father would have wanted.
After helping our client through the painful estate administration process for her father, she brought her mother as well as her husband in to complete their own estate plan. After completing their estate plans they felt a tremendous relief that they themselves would not be passing the same burden on to their loved ones and would have their final wishes carried out.