Many people do not prioritize estate planning. They are busy with their day-to-day lives and they reason that they will have time to think about estate planning at some point in the future. In fact, surveys consistently find that most American adults don’t have an estate plan in place. This is particularly true among younger people.
Have you ever wondered what would happen to your property if you died without a will or trust? Dying without leaving behind any type of instructions to guide the transfer of your assets is called dying intestate.
If you were to die intestate it would be up to the probate court to sort everything out. There are intestacy rules of succession that would hold sway in this type of case. Your next of kin would inherit your property in accordance with these laws.
Each state has slightly different laws, but for the most part your spouse would come first if you are in fact married. Your children would be next. In some states the children would automatically get a percentage of your personal property.
There are those who die without leaving behind any estate planning documents who do not have any blood relatives still alive. These cases are very disturbing because the government can absorb these funds under escheat laws.
In fact, there is a very interesting case playing itself out in the state of New York. In 2012 a gentleman named Roman Blum died in possession of millions upon millions of dollars. He was a Holocaust survivor, and he was active within that community. He also had friends and neighbors.
Clearly, there were people in his life that he could have named in his last will or trust. However, Blum did not leave behind any estate planning documents. Under the laws of the state if no relative can be found within three years of his passing the New York coffers will indeed swell considerably as Blum’s estate is absorb under escheat rules.
This is actually the largest escheat case in the history of the state of New York. The total value of his estate is approximately $40 million. Clearly, this amount of money could change the lives of numerous different people. And even if he didn’t want to leave the money to anyone that he was personally acquainted with he could have supported any number of worthy causes.
There is no reason to die intestate when you can plan your estate quite easily and efficiently with the assistance of a licensed estate planning attorney. If you are currently going through life without an estate plan now is the time to take action. Our firm would be glad to provide you with a free consultation, and we can be reached through the contact page on this website.