A businessman with a $2.5 billion estate passed away in 1976. He was single and many individuals, mostly unrelated to him, filed more than 40 wills with the probate court. Twenty-two cousins fought with all of the other individuals claiming a share of the estate. In the end, the wills were all ruled invalid and the 22 cousins plus the federal government divided up the estate.. This may occur because one of your family members or potential heirs might believe that he or she can receive a larger portion of the estate. Continue reading
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