A good friend and client just became the victim of a poorly conceived Estate Plan involving a Missouri Beneficiary Deed. Fortunately I wasn’t the one who advised that be used. Unfortunately I wasn’t asked to, because I would have advised against it.
My friend, Frank, and his sister, Karen, had been named beneficiaries on their father and step-mother’s property. The beneficiary deed was done correctly and recorded as required by law. Frank’s father died about a month ago, and his Stepmother can’t stay in the house by herself. She is not dealing with the situation well, and is likely incompetent. The Stepmother has no children of her own, and her nearest relative is her brother. The brother is more than willing to to sell the property, which is now in Stepmom’s name alone, and split the proceeds with Frank and Karen. This would be the “right thing”, and represents his father’s wishes.
Enter the evil sister-in-law. She’s demanding that the property be sold, and that they hold all the money “just in case” stepmom needs it. After all, the house is now stepmom’s alone, and Frank and Karen have no legal claim to it.
The problem, you see, is that Beneficiary Deeds don’t do anything until BOTH parties die.
Frank is sure that when evil sister-in-law gets the money he will never see it again. I think he’s right.
A Living Trust would have prevented all of this. The money could and would have been held for step mom “just in case” and then distributed to Frank and Karen after stepmom dies. This is what was initially desired.
Beneficiary Deeds work well in certain situations. Where there are blended families involved, they often result in the wrong people inheriting.
Frank’s dad was well intended – a great guy. He trusted his wife’s family too much. Frank and Karen are paying the price.
Don’t let this happen to you. Contact us for help.