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Avoiding Estate Planning Mistakes-Step 2

Title assets properly.

Margaret, a widow, married Sam.  She owned her home and upon her demise, she wanted her home sold and the sale proceeds left to her three children.  She also wanted to avoid probate so she added her husband’s name to the deedwith right of survivorship.  When she passed away first, her home passed to her second husband and children were not entitled to the sale proceeds of the house. If Margaret knew, she would have rolled over in her grave.

Clients can own assets in a variety of ways: sole ownership, joint with right of survivorship, joint tenancy, and so on. Additionally, married clients living in Western U.S. states may own property under their state’s community property laws. The different ownership forms determine how an asset’s ownership changes when an owner (or one of the owners) dies. If the ownership form leads to a distribution that conflicts with an owner’s or intended heir’s wishes, a battle can ensue.

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