Sometimes people think they don’t need an estate plan because they’ve named one of their children to be the sole owner of all of their assets when they die. They say, “I’m not worried, I know my daughter will do the right thing.” This is not a good idea.
If you know how you want your assets to be distributed when you pass away, you need a plan that says exactly that. Unfortunately, sometimes, even if your daughter wanted to carry out your wishes, events happen that prevent her from doing that. For example, she may be in the middle of a bankruptcy or a divorce, and now your assets are subject to those legal issues. She may die before you do. And although you hope your children will do what you would like, I have seen it, more times than I care to admit, where the child who was the beneficiary of everything, kept everything, because legally he had the right to do so. And the other siblings receive nothing. This situation can put one child at odds with the others, with their only guidance being previously spoken instructions.
If you have assets that you want to be distributed in a particular way, you need a plan. Don’t leave it to chance, hoping everything goes perfectly—put it in a plan, so you know that it does