Substantive Tip – Handwritten Wills
You may recall when Aretha Franklin died last August, her four sons believed she had no will. By law, in the absence of a will, the four sons would share equally in her very large estate. Recently, several handwritten (holographic) wills have been found in her home, upsetting the peaceful relations among the sons.
Some of the wills were found in a locked cabinet; others were found under the sofa cushions. The most recent will, dated 2014, will be considered by the court at a hearing on June 17. If valid, the 2014 will changes the executor and changes each child’s share of the estate. If not valid, perhaps the court will uphold one of the earlier wills.
The lessons: (1) Make an estate plan that reflects your wishes, solves your concerns, and preserves harmony in your family; (2) Do not attempt to write your own will, it is not as easy as you might think; (3) Revisit your estate plan annually to make sure it reflects your circumstances; (4) Make sure your heirs can find your will and other estate plan documents; (5) involve your family in the process so they will know your wishes.