Question: I’m not sure I need a Will but what happens if I die without a Will?
Answer: If you have property, it is important to have a Will. With that being said, the more property you have, having a will could become that much more important. I’ll take an extreme case of a recent celebrity who died without a Will. The “Queen of Soul,” Aretha Franklin, is reported to have died leaving behind a vast fortune estimated to be over $80 million dollars. She is reported not to have had a Will.
When there is $80 million on the line and no Will, suffice to say, the chance of litigation increases exponentially. This is one of the primary reasons to have a Will: to avoid conflict and litigation.
Now, instead of Aretha directing how her estate will be distributed in accordance with her wishes, a judge interpreting state law will decide how to divide the fortune. On top of the costs of litigation, there will be a lot of taxes to pay, some or all of which could have potentially been avoided.
State law will determine where her estate will eventually end up. In Aretha’s case, it will likely be her sons. This may have been what was intended, but maybe not. The better course of action would obviously have been to have a plan and a clear direction.
As always, if you have any questions or would like to learn more, please contact Steve Shane at email@example.com or .
ABOUT STEVE SHANE
Steve Shane provides strategic counseling to clients in need of estate administration, charitable giving and business continuity planning while minimizing estate, gift, and generation-skipping transfer tax exposure. He offers legal guidance to clients on asset protection and the proper disposition of assets in accordance with the client’s objectives, while employing tax planning techniques such as the use of irrevocable trusts, life insurance planning, lifetime gifts and charitable trust. He is also experienced with drafting documents for business planning, the incorporation and application for exemption for Private Foundations and the administration of decedents’ estates.
ABOUT OFFIT KURMAN
Offit Kurman is one of the fastest-growing, full-service law firms in the Mid-Atlantic region. With over 170 attorneys offering a comprehensive range of services in virtually every legal category, the firm is well positioned to meet the needs of dynamic businesses and the people who own and operate them. Our twelve offices serve individual and corporate clients in the Virginia, Washington, DC, Maryland, Delaware, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York City regions. At Offit Kurman, we are our clients’ most trusted legal advisors, professionals who help maximize and protect business value and personal wealth. In every interaction, we consistently maintain our clients’ confidence by remaining focused on furthering their objectives and achieving their goals in an efficient manner. Trust, knowledge, confidence—in a partner, that’s perfect.
You can connect with Offit Kurman via our Blog, Facebook, Twitter, Google+, YouTube, and LinkedIn pages. You can also sign up to receive Law Matters, Offit Kurman’s monthly newsletter covering a diverse selection of legal and corporate thought leadership content.
MARYLAND | PENNSYLVANIA | VIRGINIA| NEW JERSEY | NEW YORK | DELAWARE | WASHINGTON, DC