When there’s no will families argue and often end up in court

When there’s no will families argue and often end up in court

A will prevents a lot of arguments

Sometimes people believe a will is just for those with a lot of assets. And while the more assets you have makes having a will and doing estate planning even more important, everyone can have a will and it’s a smart thing to do.

Reciprocal Will

On one of my regular radio shows with local radio station TK99 in Syracuse, a caller had a question about wills and estates and what they could or should do with their spouse and having a will together or separate. You must have your will, and your spouse has theirs. Usually one spouse simply leaves it to the other spouse, or what we call in legal terms a Reciprocal Will, and then the assets go to their children after one another. The question also came up about several versions of the will or revisions to your will. The most recent will always revokes the previous wills. But you must state this in the will itself. Otherwise, that too will end up being litigated in court.


Estates large and small can be very complicated. And this is one of the things you MUST plan ahead for. Sometimes estates can be problematic. If you don’t do it right, it can be a nightmare. There are so many rules and regulations you do have to plan ahead. If you don’t, then it’s too late. I’ve had cases where there is a will but the family goes in and cleans out the house.

So if you have a wish for something specific, jewelry, something sentimental, you want to go to one specific person, you must declare that in a will. Otherwise, there’s no way to track it.

Inventory your assets

Whatever relative ‘gets there first’ can take it all, and then you’ll likely end up in court. If things aren’t specifically inventoried, there’s not much your loved ones can do if there was something special to them that they would like after you pass.  I’ve seen it over and over again. It’s sad. When it comes to money, etc., families can get ripped apart sometimes over the smallest things. A will prevents all of that. You can designate specific jewelry items, get as specific as you want. Otherwise someone else gets decide.

Joe Stanley of the Team at Stanley Law and Stanley Law Offices is a personal injury attorney in Syracuse with additional offices in Watertown, Binghamton, Rochester, and Montrose, PA. While th

e team is dedicated to personal injury cases, car crashes, construction accidents, worker’s compensation cases, motorcycle accidents, slip and falls, Joe works to advocate for your rights regardless. He is interviewed weekly on several television and radio stations across Upstate NY and the Southern Tier, answering your questions that often run the gamut of law. If you have a question for Joe, you can email him directly at Joe@StanleyLawOffices.com or phone 1-800-608-3333 because Joe Knows.