Many people assume that anyone with substantial assets and property would automatically have a last will and testament, along with other important estate planning documents. However, no matter how much money you have – or don’t have – it is up to you to have a will drafted and executed since no one else can do it for you. Only you have the power to set out your wishes after your death, so it is important to address the need for an estate plan.
Legendary musician and singer Prince died earlier this year and, much to the surprise of many people, it appears that he died without a will. When you die with no will, the court will be in charge of the distribution of your estate and must comply with state intestacy laws. According to intestacy laws, property is distributed first to a spouse and children. If there is no spouse or children, it may be distributed to other relatives including parents, siblings, or nephews and nieces.
Since Prince had no spouse or children, it appears that his high-value estate will be divided among his sister and five half-siblings. However, the case has been significantly delayed due to many people coming forward to claim to the court that they were married to Prince or that Prince was their father. In addition, two other people stated they had a claim to the estate because their father/grandfather was treated like a brother to Prince (though there was no biological relation). The probate court overseeing the case recently ruled that these two did not have a right to inherit under the estate.
Importance of a Will
While large estates can be complicated, the probate process can be significantly easier if a person had a clear and carefully-considered will executed. In addition, forming a trust and having other payable-on-death accounts can simplify the probate process for your family.
You should also never assume that you need to have significant wealth to draft a will. Even with relatively small estates, conflicts and delays can arise, making the process more costly and stressful for everyone involved.
Call 201-498-9768 today for more information.
At the Law Office of John L. Schettino, we have helped people of all ages and with all levels of wealth execute an enforceable will and comprehensive estate plan. If you would like to discuss your estate plan options, please contact our NJ estate planning attorney today.