Tag Archives: probate

The Consequences of Dying Without A Will

What will happen to my money and possessions if I die without a will?
If you die without a will, what happens to your assets will be determined by the state in which you reside. Every state has intestacy laws in place that parcel out property and assets to a deceased person’s closest relatives when there’s no will or trust. Keep in mind these laws vary from state to state. A good resource to help you find out how your state works is About.com’s Wills and Estate Planning site, which provides a state-by-state breakdown of how your estate would be distributed if you die without a will. See StateIntestacyLaws.com for a direct link to this page. In the meantime, here is a general (not state specific) breakdown of what can happen to a person’s assets, depending on whom they leave behind. Continue reading

How Long Is A Will Valid??

The mere passage of time has no effect on the validity of the will. Individuals and families experience life changes every 2 to 5 years. So even though a will remains valid, the individual and family’s needs change. Tax laws and statutes controlling wills and trusts change as well.   Continue reading

Wills – Perils of Probate

Published October 24, 2014 by The United Methodist Foundation of the Tennessee and Memphis Conferences

Business Owner passed away on April 5, 1976, with an estate of $2.5 billion. Many people appeared claiming, “I am Business Owner’s heir” and submitted wills with themselves as beneficiaries. The court finally determined seven years later that none of the wills were valid and split the estate among 22 of the decedent’s cousins. The costs and fees to lawyers during administration of Business Owner’s estate were in the millions of dollars. Continue reading

Wills – Good and Bad

Published November 2, 2012
United Methodist Foundation for the Tennessee and Memphis Conferences

Where is the Missing Will?

More than 40 wills were submitted to the probate court, with a multitude of potential heirs each claiming to be the true recipient of a wealthy business owner who passed away in 1976. With a $2.5 billion estate at stake, there was an intense interest in the decision of the court.

After extensive review of the 40 documents, the court finally determined that none of the 40 wills were valid. Because there was no valid will, the court divided the $2.5 billion estate among 22 relatives. Court costs, attorney costs, and estate taxes were enormous, but the 22 heirs still each received millions of dollars.

 Why is a Will Important?

Continue reading

What is Elder Law??

South Carolina Elder Law Attorney, Mitchell Paine, recently shared the following thoughts on my Elder Care Matters Website. What is elder law? It is a question I am often asked and I think my colleague, Mr. Paine, gives an extraordinary answer.

Well among attorneys there seems to be no clear definition for the term elder law because it encompasses so many areas. An elder law attorney will be involved in estate planning, Medicaid eligibility, Medicare law, Social Security law, Wills, Trusts, Probate, retirement planning, healthcare planning, disability incapacity, dementia, Alzheimer’s, and the list goes on.

Perhaps the best definition of elder law is “an area of law which applies a holistic approach to addressing the unique legal needs of senior citizens, including retirement benefits, estate planning, healthcare, and other issues.”

Continue reading