Fun (Or Not So Fun) Facts About Estate Planning

Apr 24, 2017

Part 2: Why Do You Need A Last Will?

By: Thomas E. Shea, Esquire

Why you should have a Will. We wrote recently about why one should not write their own will. Of course, that begets the question, why does one need a will in the first place? Let me illustrate. I recently was told by a married couple, with 2 children, that they didn’t think they needed a will. They thought when one of them died all of their property would go to the surviving spouse. After they were both deceased, they continued, then everything would go to their kids. This seems like a logical position, right? Wrong! I had to break the bad news to them. Without a will, the surviving spouse might inherit only part of the deceased spouse’s estate. Part of the remaining estate would go to their children, even though the surviving spouse was … still alive. Anyhow, crisis averted. They promptly had me prepare new wills. On a larger scale, the musical artist (formerly known as) Prince died last year, with an estate estimated in the $300 million dollar range. Published reports indicate that he died without a will. Chaos ensued (and continues to this day). Numerous relatives or persons claiming to be relatives filed papers with a Minnesota probate court claiming to be rightful heirs. He also appointed no-one to handle his affairs upon his death, requiring a count appointed administrator for his estate. It could take years for the court to determine who the legitimate heirs to his estate are. Without a will, history and experience have shown that disputes often result among potential heirs, and in many cases require expensive litigation to resolve. Give you and your heirs peace of mind, put a proper estate plan in place today.

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