The need for making a will cannot be overstated, and by now nearly everyone has a good understanding of how important this part of estate planning can be. Unfortunately, many people think of will creation as being a "one and done" sort of thing. A will that is outdated may cause even more problems than having no will at all, particularly when it comes to the issue of ademption. Few people are familiar with this troublesome aspect of wills, so read on to learn more and how important it can be to update your will on a regular basis.
Honoring a Bequest
When it comes to preparing a will, there are two different ways of categorizing your property for disposal after your death.
1. Many people have a very simple will that specifies that all property in the estate be equally divide between the deceased's surviving children. For example, the home, cars, furniture, jewelry and everything else is distributed among the adult children of the family. Items not easily, divided, like the family home, may be sold and the proceeds distributed.
2. Some people take a more detail-oriented approach and make bequeaths of specific property to specific people. For example, you may want your niece to get your beloved dog, because you know that she would care for the dog just as you have. The issue of ademption can arise, however, when the bequest cannot be honored due to a loss of that specific bequest. Pets can die, property can get sold, items could be lost or stolen, and checking accounts can be empty of funds. If the property is no longer available to fulfill the bequest, it is considered to be adeemed. Your niece's inheritance of the pet cannot be honored, and there are no provisions to substitute for that missing bequest.
Property That Cannot be Adeemed
There is one category of an estate that cannot be considered adeemed, and that will allow the proposed recipient to be provided with their inheritance. Any cash bequeaths must be honored, if at all possible, even if property must be sold to do so. For example, if you leave $2,500 to your uncle and there is no cash in any accounts at the time of your death, property must be sold to provide your uncle with their rightful inheritance.
Speak a estate attorney, such as at Wilson Deege Despotovich Riemenschneider & Rittgers, for more information about ademption and how it could affect your estate and your will and keep your will updated to prevent problems later on.
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