Newport Richey Patch: A recent client had me write “mirror” wills for him and his wife. This means that if the husband dies first, the wife gets everything, and vice versa. The couple had a young son.

A month later, the wife past away. The husband found out that his late wife, previously divorced, did not change her 401(k) retirement account payable-on-death beneficiary. Now the widower is in a fight for money that never was intended to go to the former husband, but rather, toward a college education for my client’s son. 

Most people believe that a will is for “old people.” An 18-year-old single mother could never use a will to try to suggest who would be the guardian of her child, right? A new professional family that has young children could never suspect that a catastrophe could occur, right? A family that just sent its kids off to college and started a new life could not believe that health problems would arise, right? I have been presented with all of these situations and more.