As recently reported by The Wall Street Journal in Changing a Will at the Last Minute, the perspective a dying person gain with the knowledge that death is near make the “issue of legacy [to] come into much sharper focus.”
Of course, deathbed estate planning may also be the source of dispute after a loved one is gone.
“People with money and property sometimes choose that moment to change their wills or estate plans. Done right, death-bed revisions may save their families income and estate taxes and prevent misunderstandings and administrative hassles.
If not handled carefully, though, it can leave a will open to legal challenges that can drag on for many years, particularly if the late changes are sweeping or appear out of character.”
Unfortunately, families sometimes later argue over whether a dying individual’s revisions to their estate plan reflected their “true” wishes—particularly when those revisions reduce an unhappy heir’s inheritance. It is important to take every precaution to ensure that any planning undertaken under these circumstances is carefully crafted to avoid future challenges.