Have you written a will? Its contents may not matter when it comes to many of your assets. A jointly owned house or bank account will automatically pass to an heir; the joint title also includes an automatic right of survivorship. Also, accounts such as 401(k)s, IRAs and life insurance policies include beneficiary designations, which when correctly completed will also take the place of designations in a will.
That means you need to keep those documents up to date. If beneficiary designations don’t reflect changes in your family, the wrong person will inherit assets, regardless of what your will may say. Perhaps you specifically named your children as beneficiaries on your life insurance policy, then had another child. Without an updated beneficiary form, your youngest will not receive any share of the life insurance. Also, if beneficiary forms are not updated after a divorce, an ex-spouse can receive the proceeds from life insurance or an IRA.
This is one of the reasons why we have created MyPatrimony.com so you can keep your last will and testament up to date, not just your estate but your beneficiaries. By updating your estate regularly you will avoid these rules affect you nor your legatees.