Nobody ever wants to think about it, let alone plan for it. But it’s unfortunately inevitable. There will be a time after everyone is gone. In the end though, estate planning is about the children and grandchildren. Those who you have loved in life and want to continuously provide for even after you are gone. However, it doesn’t always go so smoothly. Due to the intricacies of paperwork and countless documents that need to be filed, a planned estate can go awry. This family from Buncombe County, North Carolina is the unfortunate example of this.
From a story reported by the Western North Carolina News, Connie, the mother of two daughters Michele Dubay and Angela Swift was diagnosed with Stage Four lung cancer when she decided to carefully plan out her estate. As an architect, Connie knew the time and effort that goes into a well-laid plan so she and her husband, Chuck Root decided to fill out the estate plan themselves. They owned a farm together, and Connie had wanted the property to go to her daughters. However, upon further planning and consideration, Connie thought it would be best to instead sell the farm upon her passing and divvy up the money amongst her two daughters. Things didn’t go as planned and once the farm was sold the money didn’t find it’s way to Connie’s daughters. Instead it wound up under Chuck’s name. Apparently when Connie had changed her plan from giving the property to her daughters to bequeathing the earnings from selling it, the will was properly updated so the money defaulted to her husband. Now, Chuck did the best thing he could as the stepfather to these two daughters he has never formally met. He has been going to the courthouse for days trying to get through probate court so that he can get the estate properly settled and into his step daughters possession. According to the estate planning lawyers from the Arenson Law Group, the process of probate court is extremely taxing without experienced help. They have said that they aren’t going to let money divide their bonds as a family.
This is a heartwarming story that comes out of such a tragic situation. If it hadn’t been for the mixup in the estate plan, Michele and Angela would have never known how much their stepfather Chuck really cares about them. This entire experience has brought them closer together as a family. Normally speaking with an estate planner lowers the probability for disputes after someone’s gone. Thankfully this family’s situation ended up well for everyone, but that isn’t always the case.
Having to plan for one’s estate is difficult. What makes it even worse is all of the paperwork that comes with it increasing the chance for something to go wrong. Sometimes though, like in Connie’s case, the family can come together stronger. Chuck called the situation an “emotional rollercoaster, ” but thankfully most of the motions involved were those of love.