Grandchildren are amazing, and you want to ensure yours will have something to remember so your legacy lives on and perhaps that they have an easier life than you had. It’s easier than you think.
What Happens if I Don’t Have a Will?
If you do not have a will, the process can become incredibly confusing and stressful for your family. While dealing with the sadness of losing you, they must also guess what you wanted to do with your belongings and assets. This can lead to arguments and divisions between the family.
However, regardless of what the family wants, Wisconsin law and the courts dictate what happens to your estate if you have no will. Intestate succession laws determine which family member gets what, and grandchildren are usually at the bottom of the list.
If you got married, and your spouse is still alive, they inherit everything. If you are not married, or your spouse has already passed, your kids will usually receive all your assets. Your grandchildren only receive something if their parents are no longer alive unless your beneficiaries outline something different.
Can Anything Trump a Will?
Wills are not the only documents used to determine what you want after your passing, and in some cases, these other documents override what is written in the will. For example, if you have life insurance with your work, you can list any beneficiary you want, including your children, grandchildren, or even your best friend. After your passing, these beneficiaries get the funds, regardless of what the will states.
If any of your accounts are joint accounts, your will gets ignored after your passing. If you have a joint bank account with your spouse, for example, the money in the bank account becomes theirs, even if you wrote something different in your will.
A common beneficiary designation is per stripes or per capita but it’s important to understand the differences.
- Per stripes = the beneficiary’s inheritance will be passed on to their next-in-line heir, or heirs.
- Per capita = the beneficiary’s inheritance would be divided evenly amongst any surviving beneficiaries.
A will is an effective way to ensure your wishes are followed after your passing. However, some documents may get in the way, which can prevent your grandchildren from getting the money you want them to have. This grandparent’s day celebrate your life and legacy by reaching out to a Christian estate planning lawyer to discuss your options to pass your legacy on to your grandchildren through your will, beneficiary designations or a trust. For more information, contact us at the McLario Firm – Your Law Firm for Life.