When a young person dies, it is generally sudden and unexpected. With youth and health, Estate Planning is not a priority. Except when death happens and those you leave behind would have been better off if you took the time to create a Will or a Trust.
When Glee star Cory Monteith passed away, he had an estate worth over $800,000 and had not taken the time to create a Will or Trust. Because of this lack of planning, it took over a year and a half for his estate to settle. You see without creating an Estate Plan of your own, your estate follows intestate rules found in Idaho’s State Statutes.
If you were in Cory’s position, single and without children, your mother and father would receive an equal share of your remaining assets.
In Cory’s situation, his divorced parents fought that entire time over whether his father was deserving of receiving one-half of Cory’s estate. Mom claimed Dad was an absentee father, who hadn’t seen Cory in years, and refused to pay child support. Eventually, Dad signed an agreement stating he did not want his legal share of Cory’s estate, but this was after much public humiliation.
Because the Probate court process is public, the bickering between his parents became news-worthy. Granted, if Cory had a Will, his estate would have still gone through Probate. However, with a Will, Cory could have dictated who he wanted to leave his estate to.
To add insult to injury, Cory’s money was probably being used to defend the State’s laws giving both parents an equal share of their son’s estate.
What about what Cory would have wanted? He had a serious relationship with Glee co-star Lea Michelle, certainly he would have wanted to leave her something. Tough. Without making your own Will or Trust, your particular wants are irrelevant. The Probate court will rely on the intestate statute of the state you live in, which generally provides what a general distribution would look like for someone in a similar situation.
Have you ever wondered how old intestate laws are? Most of them are very old. Imagine how different society and what we consider family is now, compared to a law originally written in the 1700 or 1800s.
So, regardless of how old you are, if you want certain people to receive a portion of your estate, or more importantly, if you have people you absolutely do not want to see receive any of your estate, make your decision known. Create a Will or Trust, otherwise a bunch of guys who are long gone will make that decision for you.
This type of planning is even more important if you have minor children. If you think your family might fight over money, you better believe they will fight over children. Without you there to bring your family back together, you minor children just lost their parents and who ever did not win the fight for custody over them. Don't make it a question. Designate who you want to have guardianship over your children and save the hurt feelings.
Schedule a conversation with Justin Jeppesen to take the first step towards creating your complete estate plan! With our Free Initial Consultation we help our clients explore their own situations and plan for their futures. If you have more questions, we'd love to help! Contact Jeppesen Law now. (208) 477-1785
See Danielle Mayoras & Andy Mayoras, Cory Monteith Shows How Even Young Adults Need Wills, Forbes, Jan. 28, 2015.