Planning your estate around specific assets is risky and, in most cases, should be avoided. If you leave specific assets — such as a home, a car, or stock — to specific people, you could end up inadvertently disinheriting someone.
Here’s an example that illustrates the problem: Kim has three children — Sarah, John, and Matthew — and wishes to treat them equally in her estate plan. In her will, she leaves a $500,000 mutual fund to Sarah and her $500,000 home to John. She also names Matthew as beneficiary of a $500,000 life insurance policy.
By the time Kim dies, the mutual fund balance has grown to $750,000. In addition, she has sold the home for $750,000, invested the proceeds in the mutual fund and allowed the life insurance policy to lapse. She didn’t revise or revoke her will. The result? Sarah receives the mutual fund, with a balance of $1.5 million, and John and Matthew are disinherited.