Matthew S. Payne is a Chicago-based attorney with a 20-year record of success in civil litigation, real estate law and estate planning.

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Were you left out of someone’s will?

On Behalf of | Sep 15, 2021 | Estate Planning

All adults in Illinois should have an estate plan. The bare minimum for that is a last will and testament. Should someone die intestate, it can cause real problems for their loved ones and result in a long probate court process. Even when people have wills, they often don’t update them as their lives change. This can sometimes lead to people being left out of a will and having their feelings hurt or finances negatively affected.

Why people are left out on accident

Estate planning is a process, not a one-time thing. However, since no one wants to think about their own demise, estate planning is often sidelined. When people don’t review their wills or beneficiary designations, that can lead to people being left out of a will by accident.

For example, people may change their life insurance beneficiary after getting married, or they may write a will after their first child is born. However, as life gets busier, they may neglect to update those documents. There are situations where someone’s ex inherits instead of their current spouse because these documents weren’t updated.

Why people are left out on purpose

Of course, there are also situations where someone is deliberately left out of a will. Often, this happens because of a falling-out in the family, or it may have been planned with their knowledge. There may be situations where someone received a large financial gift on the understanding that they would not be named in the will.

That doesn’t mean that being left out doesn’t sting. It’s a good idea to be tactful after a will is read. The document represents the wishes of someone who’s no longer around. Whether they’ve included or excluded a person, that shouldn’t sour the remaining relationships among their loved ones.