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Wills Can Avert Family Warfare, but Have Their Own Hidden Traps


(NY TIMES) When G. Andrews Smith of Dallas received a phone call in 2015 telling him that his brother-in-law had been in a life-threatening motorcycle accident and was unconscious at a hospital in Akron, Ohio, Mr. Smith and his wife, Patty, rushed to his side. But they quickly learned that family members had no say in his medical treatment because he was unmarried and had no living will outlining his wishes or giving power of attorney to a relative....It often takes a life event like a marriage, the birth of a child, a divorce or a death in the family to motivate people to write wills.

Many people don’t realize that if no estate plan is in place, or if the terms are not explicitly laid out and regularly updated, there can be chaos after an accident or a death, even among the friendliest of siblings.

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