I forgot. As a parent of four children, this is a phrase I hear often. Dad, I forgot my homework can you bring it to me? Son, did you get your room cleaned? Oh yeah, I forgot. But what happens if you forget to include a spouse or child in your estate plan? What happens if you re-marry and don’t have a will? What happens if you re-marry and don’t have a pre-nuptial agreement. What happens if you forget to transfer an asset into your trust?
The answer is that you get all or part of the government plan. The government plan is the default rules established by your state legislature. These rules fill in the gaps if your estate plan doesn’t address a particular problem or you fail to have a plan at all. Maybe your new spouse gets more than you intended. Maybe your spouse has to share your estate with estranged children from a prior marriage. The consequences of these shortcomings are too serious to leave to chance. A good estate plan properly maintained will address these issues and others, as well keep things up to date in the event of changing circumstances.
If you have questions talk to a qualified estate planning attorney about your unique concerns. I better run, I almost forgot to take out the trash.