Reason #4 to Talk to an Estate Planning Attorney: You need someone who knows the law

Reason #4: You need someone who knows the law better than your internet search or your friend/sister/neighbor/etc.

It is common for someone to come in with a Will that leaves almost all of an estate to the intended beneficiaries and gifts of $1.00 (or $100) to a list of people the decedent wished to disinherit. These are more often than not DIY Wills based on advice from a non-attorney who heard it from someone else that a lawyer once said… or they saw an article… Let’s talk about the practical implications of these nominal gifts.
Everybody is invited to the party. A beneficiary of a WIll is an “interested party,” whether they get 100% of the estate or $1. This opens the door for them to be difficult just for the sake of being difficult (apply to be administrator of the estate, demand an accounting, challenge the appointment of the named executor, etc.).
They are entitled to information. Even if the executor takes advantage of certain privacy measures, such as an Affidavit in Lieu of Inventory, any interested party can demand a copy of the official list of estate assets.
You may need their cooperation. Sometimes there are issues with a Will that can only be resolved by agreement of ALL beneficiaries. For example, if the Will names an executor, but doesn’t have the right language for an independent administration, you could be forced to proceed with a lengthy and expensive dependent administration unless you can get every single beneficiary to sign a consent to a generally more time-and-cost-effective independent administration. Care to guess how willing and cooperative $1 beneficiaries tend to be?
It is important to note that certain language is required to successfully disinherit a child and is recommended for other groups of people as well.  Call Ramsey Law at 210-366-8732 if you would like a Will or Trust that effectively excludes the people you wish to exclude from your estate plan.
Lawyer Amber Ramsey working on laptop and documents in conference room