A new case from the Tennessee Court of Appeals illustrates the problems when we fail to update estate planning documents. Wanda Joyce Watkins made a will that left everything to her husband. When he predeceased her, Wanda didn’t take steps to change her will. Wanda had a daughter and named her the executor of the will. When Wanda died, her husband’s children claimed all of her property.
Tennessee has what is called an “anti-lapse” statute which says that if you leave your money to someone in your will and that person dies, the bequest does not lapse if that person has children. Despite testimony at the hearing that Wanda had a “tense” relationship with her stepchildren, they inherited all of her assets to the exclusion of Wanda’s own daughter.
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