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Including my children in my will when I have a different beneficiary

Saint Michael, PA |

Due to the fact that my three children do not always get a long to prevent any conflict when I die, I have arranged for a different beneficiary. How do I write my will to include monies for my children after all funeral and medical expenses have been paid>

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Attorney answers 6

Posted

Your statement that you have arranged for a different beneficiary is confusing. What is the different beneficiary to receive? If you have given everything to a different beneficiary there will be no money left to pay for the funeral, unpaid medical expenses or your children. Instead of responding on this public list where you do not have the benefit of the attorney-client privilege required to fully develop the facts to properly answer your concerns and guide you you to achieve your wishes, I urge you to consult with an attorney with experience in Estate Planning and Will drafting immediately. If you do not know or have an attorney suggest you either use the Find a Lawyer Feature on AVVO or contact the Pennsylvania Bar Association - Lawyer Referral Service at 800-692-7375 for name(s) of attorneys available for Estate Planning and Will Drafting in Cambria county and the surrounding counties.

Mr. Geisenberger is a Pennsylvania-licensed attorney only. The information is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice. You should consult an attorney for individual advice regarding your own situation. Answering this question does not in any way constitute legal representation. Contacting Jacques H. Geisenberger, Jr., P.C.,does not constitute legal representation, nor is any information you provide protected by attorney-client privilege.

Mindy L. Hitchcock

Mindy L. Hitchcock

Posted

I agree with counsel. If you have sufficient assets to be concerned that your children will be fighting over them, you should definitely retain the services of a competent attorney to draft your will. If you have sufficient assets and/or want to keep the estate out of probate, then consider having a trust prepared. Then, instead of making a third party the beneficiary (which could open up all kinds of litigation by your children if there is a large estate), you could make him or her the trustee to implement your desires with respect to giving proceeds to each of your children.

Posted

You should discuss fully with an estate planning attorney exactly what you want done with your estate so he or she can draft the will to accomplish what you want. Most attorneys will provide this type of service fairly inexpensively.

Jacques H. Geisenberger Jr.

Jacques H. Geisenberger Jr.

Posted

Just remember that "free legal advice" is worth what you pay for it, "cheap legal advice" is usually worse.

Thomas J. Wagner

Thomas J. Wagner

Posted

Attorney Geisenberger, I think that your comment is uncalled for. What are you implying? That the questioner should proceed without an attorney or that he should hire the most expensive attorney? He should definitely seek the advise of an attorney. But he certainly doesn't need to break the bank to put in place and estate plan that accomplishes what he wants.

Posted

I agree with counsel. Proper estate planning in this situation would likely include an independent person to serve as executor of your will and as trustee of a revocable trust. The independent fiduciary would pay bills, decide disputes, sell assets (if necessary) and ultimately distribute the assets to or for the benefit of your children. Please discuss this matter with an experienced estate planning attorney and he or she will set you on the right path. Good luck to you.

This information is presented as a public service. It should not be construed to be formal legal advice nor considered to be the formation of a lawyer/client relationship. I am licensed in Connecticut and New York and my answers are based upon the law in those jurisdictions. My answer to any specific question would likely be different if I were to review a client's file and have the opportunity to interview the client. Accordingly, I strongly urge you to retain an attorney in your jurisdiction with respect to any legal matter.

Posted

Your comment about arranging for a different beneficiary is a little confusing. What you may mean instead is that you've arranged for a different executor. The executor of your will will guide your estate through the probate process when you die. Since your children don't get along, this may me a good idea because it will ensure that an independent third party is involved.

As far as writing your will to include money for each of your children, I would recommend contacting an estate planning attorney near where you live. This can be done through the will, and you will have several options. For example, you could give a certain dollar amount to each child, or you could divide your estate equally among your children. A competent estate planning attorney will walk you through the process to make sure your goals are met.

The answer provided above is not intended as legal advice; it is provided for informational purposes only. Please contact an attorney for legal advice.

Posted

Speaking only for myself, I share my colleagues' confusion over your question, and here's why:

While I am happy to offer my views on questions of estate planning that appear on Avvo, I'm always uncomfortable when I suspect that someone is asking for legal advice so that they may attempt to write their own estate planning document by themselves.

You may believe that you are saving money by trying the "do it yourself" route, but the real value in securing professional help in writing a will is in something which money cannot buy: peace among your kids (or at least no further escalation of conflict).

A trained attorney should have ideas which you, as a layperson, might not even have considered to solve your problem.

It all comes down to what you value more: saving a few bucks, or having your kids get along. You choose.

The materials available at this web site are for informational purposes only and not for the purpose of providing legal advice. You should contact your attorney to obtain advice with respect to any particular issue or problem. Use of and access to this Web site or any of the e-mail links contained within the site do not create an attorney-client relationship between Flood and Masiuk, LLC and the user or browser. The opinions expressed at or through this site are the opinions of the individual author and may not reflect the opinions of the firm or any individual attorney.

Jacques H. Geisenberger Jr.

Jacques H. Geisenberger Jr.

Posted

Mr. Masiuk's response is right on point. Back in the late 1950's when i first started practicing law here in Lancaster County, there were books and speakers selling "how to avoid probate" and there was no Internet, Intuit other software or sites to assist in writing your own will. I am a third generation attorney. My late father's comment back in the day was "Nothing so sweet adding grist to the mill as the person who writes their own Will". It was true then and continues to be true. Remember that the he/she who represents himself/herself has a fool for a client.

Posted

If someone else is the beneficiary and you want it to go to your kids, have an attorney write a new Will.

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