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Katya Sverdlov Blog

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Update your estate documents – or face unpleasant surprises!

In a recent case that I saw, a woman lived together with a man for approximately 10 years. She loved him very much and wrote a Will, leaving all of her assets to him. They never married.

Eventually, the couple separated. After a couple of years, the woman began dating another man. Yet she was still relatively young and she never updated any of her estate planning documents, leaving it all to be dealt with another day. 5 years after she separated from the first man, she was in a car accident and died without regaining consciousness.

The man whom she has not seen for the past 5 years, the one who did not part with the woman on the best of terms, received all of her assets. There were no grounds to contest that Will – the woman was clearly in her right mind when she made it and it was a validly executed document.  Changes in life circumstances are not a legal reason to invalidate a Will – and this was about money, so of course the earlier boyfriend claimed her estate. So neither her last boyfriend nor any of her family received a penny.

The moral of a story is: if your life changes, please review your documents, and get ready to change them quickly. You may be surprised at what you find in them!


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