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Family shocked to learn deceased loved one had 2 wills

Dealing with the grief and sadness associated with the loss of a loved one is hard enough, but when there are significant problems settling a Lee County estate, the grief can be monumental. This is why it is a good idea to discuss your estate planning with close family members so that they know your wishes and will not be shocked when your will is read.

An 89-year-old woman had done this when she drew up a will and named her surrogate family members as beneficiaries. The four individuals who were expecting to inherit her entire estate were taken by surprise when the will was read following her death. Instead of hearing their names identified as beneficiaries, a 77-year-old man was listed as sole beneficiary.

It seems that a second will was drawn up just eight months after the first. The family was suspicious of the new will so they contested it in court. They claimed the man was someone whom the woman did not trust or even like. The man had a history of cashing the woman's personal and pension checks both before and following her death, effectively taking all the money in her bank account. These findings led a probate court judge to question the validity of the second will and eventually throw it out entirely.

No one wants to go through this harrowing experience. This is why planning your estate is something you should do with care, no matter what your circumstances. You want to be sure that after you pass on, your estate will be taken care of in a manner that you see fit and that your loved ones will be protected. Speaking with an attorney can help you get started on the process.

Source: Eagle-Tribune, "Retired cop charged with stealing from 'Aunt Betty'," Jill Harmacinski, Jan. 24, 2013

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