Circumstances change, possessions change, homes change, has your Will changed? As a Middleburg Estate Planning Attorney, I have heard many “will” stories, not all of them have a happy ending.
A Florida woman was left a home in her father’s Florida Will . Her brother was left money in the amount equivalent to the value of the home. Her father sold the home before he died, but failed to update his Florida Will to provide for his daughter.
If the subject matter of a specific gift is not in the estate at the time of the testator’s death, the specific gift, (in this case the house) will fail and the person who should have received the gift will take nothing. This is called “Ademption by Extinction“, in other words, the house no longer belongs to the deceased and therefore it cannot pass to his heirs.
Although nothing precludes the heir from contesting the will, this is a time-consuming and costly endeavor guaranteed to cause stress. A better plan is to consult with a Middleburg Wills Attorney. An attorney will review your current Will, and make suggestions as to how you can prevent similar scenarios. If you no longer own the mint condition mustang that you devised to your granddaughter, she may be quite disappointed when she realizes she receives no car or anything else.
If you have already had your Will prepared, that is great. However, life changes, what we own changes, our heirs may change. If your Will is not updated to reflect what your circumstances are now, it will not reflect what your true intentions are.