What if you survived your heir?


You want to bequeath your estate to certain people. But suppose they die first. Then what ?

Ideally, you have stated your wishes and contingency plans for scenarios like this in a written will. Otherwise, and assuming you never have time to make a will, Louisiana (assuming you live here) will use its “laws of intestate succession” to essentially create a will for you.

In short, Louisiana law will decide who gets what from your estate.

Depending on the circumstances, a court may award shares to your spouse, children, siblings, cousins ​​or even parents.

Some people agree with this. Many, however, want more say in who gets their estate.

So let’s get back to our original question: Suppose you outlive the person (s) to whom you planned to bequeath your estate? Consider this scenario:

Let’s say you have five children. Four of them have their own children. The fifth is childless.

Let’s also say that you want to treat your children equally. Since your estate is worth $ 500,000, you imagine that each child will inherit $ 100,000 upon your death.

But suppose one of your children (with children) dies. Do you want your inheritance to be divided in only four ways, thus ignoring your grandchildren? Or would you prefer that the deceased child’s share of your estate be shared equally among his or her children (i.e. your grandchildren)?

And what about the fact that your children have a different number of descendants? One, as mentioned, does not have one, another has a child. Another has six.

Not that simple, is it?

The most common approach I have seen is to divide things evenly among their children, with the portions going to the grandchildren equally if their parent is deceased. But just because it’s common doesn’t mean it’s right for you.

Sometimes the circumstances demand unequal treatment.

  • You may want to give more to a child with special needs.
  • You may be uncomfortable leaving a large sum of money for a child who is struggling with drug addiction or laziness, or who has a history of impulsive and reckless behavior. Not wanting to activate them (or ruin them), you might want to give them a lesser share (or no share at all).
  • You may decide to give a child a bigger share because that child has sacrificed a significant part of their life and spent a lot of money taking care of you and / or your spouse.

These examples are certainly not recommendations. The right people can (and are) at odds over how to handle such difficult situations.

But without a will, they will be treated only one way, according to the precepts of Louisiana law. (And this law will be enforced by a judge who probably doesn’t know anything about you.)

If you think that you, and not the state, know best how to divide your estate wisely, consult a lawyer and write a will. A competent lawyer will make sure to take into account contingencies such as those discussed here.

And for some practical advice on how to grow a domain that you can one day pass on, email me at [email protected] I will send you my free e-book “How to Put Financial Worries in Your Rearview Mirror”. There is no cost and no obligation.

Argent Advisors, Inc. is an SEC registered investment adviser. A copy of our current written statement regarding our advisory services and fees is available upon request. Please see important disclosure information at https://ruston.argentadvisors.com/important-disclosure-information/

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