Does an “I Love You” Will Really Show Your True Affection?
A will is a legal document that lets you tell the world who should receive your assets after your death. An “I Love You” Will basically states, I leave everything to my spouse first and then to our children equally. In real life this type of Will can become anything but loving.
Marge and Walter have three wonderful children, Beth, Dave and Mark. Beth lives locally, in Rockford, and helps Mom and Dad out all the time. Dave and Mark live out of state. Other than a visit or two a year, they are not involved in mom and dad’s daily life.
Marge and Walter have a beautiful cottage on the lake in Grand Haven, in addition to their primary home in Grand Rapids. Beth and her family look forward to weekend visits in the summer. Her children feel like it’s their summer home because they spent so much time there with Nana and Grandpa. Due to distance and their own busy lives, Dave and Mark haven’t been to the cottage since they were little.
If Marge and Walter had an I Love You Will, what do think would happen to all their assets? Sell everything and divide by three, perhaps. Of course, after attorney fees and Probate costs! Do you think Beth would want to keep the cottage “in the family” and continue to use it in the summer months? There are so many memories there, particularly of Mom and Dad. Beth may even think she deserves the cottage. After all, she was always there for their parents (paying bills, doctor’s visits, trips to the store when it wasn’t safe for them to drive anymore, etc.) Do you think this situation may cause dissention among the siblings? Is this really what Mom and Dad planned, their “wonderful” children fighting over the cottage or at the very least have bad feelings towards each other? What happens to the primary residence?
There are alternatives to an “I Love You” Will. An experienced estate planning attorney can explain your options and counsel you on how to best achieve you wishes.