I feel like a normal attorney, I recommended a Last Will and Testament

If you have heard me speak much or read much of my writings, you know I am very critical of using a Last Will and Testament as the primary estate planning tool.  Having a will makes you go through probate, which is court, which is very expensive, time consuming and not in anyone’s real best interest other than the attorney.  So, me recommending a Last Will and Testament is me eating crow.

However, I did actually recommend a Last Will and Testament yesterday but it’s still not their primary estate planning tool, it’s there just “in case”.  Normally I don’t even do a Last Will and Testament since we make sure all of the assets transfer on death to someone else immediately upon death or we make sure they don’t own anything at the time of their death by using a trust.

However, we had a interesting case yesterday that the only solution I could come up with was a will.  This couple has no children.  They have a number of nieces and nephews that would be the natural heirs of their estate if we did not do anything.  They want all of the assets to go to one nephew.  We did a type of deed on the house to make sure the house goes to this nephew upon death.  We have all the bank accounts go to the nephew upon death.  However, they own a type of investment that does not allow us to do the “payable on death” designation.  Therefore, if the couple does not liquidate this asset before death, it will go to probate.  We have to do the last will and testament to make sure this one asset is not divided between all the nieces and nephews and go to just who they want.  Our hope is that the one assets that can’t be paid on death will be liquidated but just in case the only way we could fix this was with a will.  So, yes, crow does taste OK in the right situation.

Todd Whatley is the founding partner of the Elder Law Practice of Whatley and Elrod, and the Managing Attorney of the Springdale, Arkansas offices, serving the legal needs of the elderly in Northwest Arkansas, including Springdale and Fayetteville.  Todd Whatley has been working in elder law field since 2000, and became Arkansas’ second certified Elder Law Attorney in 2006.  He is on the Board of Directors of the National Elder Law Foundation.  The Elder Law Practice of Whatley and Elrod is focused on the legal needs of the elderly and their families.  Todd Whatley is a regular speaker for Continuing Legal Education seminars teaching other attorneys about elder law.

About the Elder Law Practice of Whatley and Elrod:

Elder Law Practice of Whatley and Elrod is Arkansas’ largest Elder Law practice, with five locations through the state of Arkansas, in Bryant, Fort Smith, Springdale, and Bentonville and Hot Springs Village.  Todd Whatley and Justin Elrod, the managing partners at the Elder Law Practice, are committed to serving the legal needs of the elderly in Arkansas.  Their services include estate planning, creating wills, trusts, avoiding probate, special needs trusts, Medicare, Medicaid, and more.  The Elder Law Practice of Whatley and Elrod also focuses in VA benefits, assisting Arkansas veterans in getting the benefits and assistance that they have earned during their time spent serving our country.

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