Specific wording needed in residuary clauses for asset protection

Helping an aging parent solidify an estate plan can be challenging. Many adult children in Georgia face complicated situations regarding asset protection that make executing estate plans difficult. Much stress can usually be alleviated by enlisting the help of someone who is well-versed in long-term care planning.

Many people understand the importance of helping elderly parents get their estate plans in order. Certain crucial factors can mean the difference between a clear and comprehensive plan and one that has the potential to cause problems for heirs when the time comes to administer the estate. One key component that helps clarify an estate owner's intentions is known as a residuary clause. This provision ensures that any assets not listed under specific bequests are accounted for and appropriately distributed according to an estate owner's wishes.

Wording is especially important when it comes to residuary clauses. In fact, one situation led to a battle over a home that parents had bequeathed to their two children when they died. Some time later, both children died as well. The daughter had included a residuary clause in her estate plan, designating that all monies not specifically bequeathed should go to her life partner; however, her family members argued that since she only listed monies, her interest in half the house left by her parents should not be included in the clause.

The man designated in the daughter's residuary clause argued that her intent was clear and that he should inherit her interests in the home her parents' left her. The court disagreed, however, and sided with the daughter's family, ruling that she died partially intestate. The home went to the son's estate and his family. For complete asset protection and to avoid potential family squabbles down the line, it is generally best to seek experienced guidance when helping aging parents in Georgia execute their estate plans.

Source: poughkeepsiejournal.com, "Drafting a last will and testament takes planning, expertise", Bernard A. Krooks, Oct. 17, 2017

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