Steve McNair & Michael Jackson: Why you must have a will


The importance of having a will has been shown in recent news.

When Michael Jackson passed away, it was his will that allowed his three children to be left with his mother, Katherine Jackson. His will also names family attorney John Branca, accountant Barry Siegel and longtime friend John McClain as the co-executors of the Michael Jackson Trust. If Jackson didn't have a will, splitting up his estate and trying to decide who would get his kids would have been a nightmare.

The death of NFL great Steve McNair was a tragic shock. But what was even more tragic was the fact the he didn't leave a will. Judge Randy Kennedy granted Steve's wife, Mechelle McNair, the right to administer his estate. With this power, she listed herself and her two sons, Tyler and Trenton, as heirs. However, Mechelle did not list McNair’s two older sons from another woman, Steven McNair Jr. and Steven O'Brian Koran McNair, as heirs. Under Tennessee law, Mechelle gets 1/3 of the estate and the remaining 2/3 is split evenly among her two sons.



Information on dying without a will:

What does "dying intestate" mean?
If you die intestate, it means that you die without having executed a valid will.

Who are my heirs?
Your heirs are the people who receive your property when you die without a will, as determined by your state’s intestacy laws. They generally include your relatives, sometimes even remote next of kin. The statutes vary from state to state, but the order of priority might look like this:

* If there is a surviving spouse and no descendants, then your surviving spouse takes the entire estate.
* If there are descendants but no surviving spouse, then your descendants take the entire estate.
* If there are descendants and a surviving spouse, then they will share the estate (usually one-half to your spouse and the other one-half is divided among your descendants).
* If there is no surviving spouse or descendants, then your parents take the estate.
* If there are no parents, then your siblings and their descendants take the estate.
* If there are no siblings or their descendants, then your grandparents and their descendants take the estate.
* If there are no grandparents or their descendants, then your estate goes to the state.

What if I die without any heirs - will my property pass to my friends?

No - your estate "escheats." This means that it passes to the state. All the more reason to plan for your death by planning your estate!


What do you think - just how important are wills?

Do you have a will in place? Why or why not?

What do you think will happen in both Michael Jackson and Steve McNair's estates because of their wills?

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Comment by CJfrom Jersey on July 24, 2009 at 3:31pm
You should have a will. I have seen a mess back in the day from someone not having a will.I mad a cd of my funeral arranagements and what each one of my children get or not i check it every six months to keep it updated. We never know life is short.
Comment by Sheilah on July 22, 2009 at 4:52pm
Wills are contested all the time. Katherine may succeed in changing Michael Jackson's will, but I would hope that his wishes were final.

Steve McNair married a woman with previous children. If he had an extended family beyond her previous children that he wanted to acknowledge, he should have spoken to someone and they should have taken him before a notary if a will was not prepared. I pray that his wife is fair. She has probably gotten her fill of chicken heads vying for her man's money and affection in just the short period of time they have been married. There are two sides of the story. Although he made the money, she had to manage the household with that money while he's being arrested with women and entertaining women outside of his marriage vows. I say let God allow Steve to Reap what he Sowed in that instance.
Comment by Anita S. on July 22, 2009 at 1:32pm
I believe wills are an essential part of life. Without it your children or family will end up fighting over who gets what and so on. Even better your property becomes award to the government and no one will benefit from that. I had a will in place but I believe it has or is about to expire. I need to get on that immediately. I just pray for the kids in both Michael and Steve's situations. It's unfortunate they had to leave so suddenly and at such a young age.
Peace!
Comment by Adiktiv on July 22, 2009 at 1:05pm
WOW!.. I've always understood the importance of a will. Yest in still I don't have one. Go figure.... I don't have one due to the fact that all of my life insurance policies.. Yes policies. I have multiple. They all have my wife and children as the beificiaries. I've also made my brother's and sister's benificiaries on other policies. As far as the material things They all can go to my wife and kids. I don't have any outside kids!

I do feel bad for Steve's older kids though! They should have been recognized wether he played a part in their lives or not! They were still his. This is a prime example of why atheletes should either find their wives before they get rich or don't marry after they get rich.
Comment by Cute&Sexy on July 22, 2009 at 11:17am
What do you think - just how important are wills? Very Important in most cases

Do you have a will in place? Why or why not? No I do not have a Will in place. I have been procrastinating. I'm single, no kids and just recently (2 yrs) bought a house so I really didn't feel the need to have a Will. Most of my funds and life insurance (retirement, savings, etc.) ask for a beneficiary to be named and I never felt the need to have a Will. Now that I have a house and I do have a couple god children (I use that term loosely as they live out of state and I rarely see them). My father has a Will but my mother refused to do one. I need to set a goal to create and finalize a Will before the end of this year.

What do you think will happen in both Michael Jackson and Steve McNair's estates because of their wills? MJ's Will will be followed. SM had no Will so there will be some people suing the estate to try to get some money.
Comment by TANYA B on July 22, 2009 at 10:32am
YES A WILL IS SO IMPORTANT, SOME PEOPLE IS HEART LESS. MY HUSBAND PASS AWAY AND HE DIDN'T HAVE A WILL, AND INLAWS BECOME OUTLAWS. U C TRUTH COLOR OF FAMILY MEMBERS., THEY DONT THINK ABOUT THE CHILDREN. HE HAD HOUSES IN HIS BROTHER NAME AND YES HE KEPT THEM. SO I HAVE EXPERINCE THAT BEFORE AND THAT THOUGHT ME HOW IMPORTANT A WILL IS. THAT WAS A LIFE EXPERINCE THAT I HAD 2 GO THOUGH 2 GET 2 WHERE I'M AT 2DAY. THANK GOD I KNOW HIM, BECAUSE THAT IS WHAT BROUGHT ME THOUGH. AND GETTIN BITTER DOSEN'T HELP EITHER. ALL THINGS WORK OUT 4 THOSE WHO BELEIVE.YES MS. MCNAIR IS BITTER RITE NOW BUT HOPEFULLY SHE WILL HAVE A CHANGE OF HEART. BECAUSE RITE IS RITE. CHILDREN ARE INNOSENSE.
Comment by MrsMalvo on July 22, 2009 at 10:15am
Wow...this is truly as sad, sad situation, especially for the McNair eldest children. Gauging by the funeral pics, I said to a friend that it doesn't look to me as if Mechelle and her mother in law were close. Looked as if Mechelle used her youngest son as a 'buffer' between them two and I bet it was a very happy day for Mechelle when she realized that she got the news there was NO WILL and SHE was IN CONTROL! I feel bad for his two eldest sons because it's up to Mechelle if they get even a crumb. Once she processes everything ( remember--this woman's whole world has crashed down around her..) I believe she will do something for his boys who were there way before she came onto the scene.

I had 2 uncles who both died without leaving a will. It wasn't pretty and really quite sad because the first was killed in an 1977 automobile accident at a fairly young age (about 35) and he had been physically separated from his wife for over 20 years and had created a whole new family and life with another. Problem was, the common-law wife would have been in control...had it not been learned that he did, in fact, have physical contact and visits with the estranged wife! So when it was all said and done...the estranged wife got to take over his assets but she did give the common law wife and 2 kids his Social Security benefits.

My other uncle had one daughter via a relationship many years ago but had a wife nobody liked. The woman shot him once but he still stayed with her! The whole family and even his grown daughter with kids of her own kept insisting that he get a will. He wouldn't do it. He kept saying that his estranged wife would take care of everything and he believed she would make sure his daughter got taken care of. We knew it would be a mess if ever he died...well, it was! When he finally and suddenly succumbed to Prostate Cancer, alone, at home, his *wife* got wind of it, jumped on a plane and beat his daughter to his house. She cleaned it out, went to the bank, cleaned out his bank account and barely wanted to cover the cost of his funeral. There was nothing anyone could do, simply because she WAS his wife AND he left NO will! I say all of this to say that it is vitally important that people leave a will to let those living know exactly what their last wishes are for their belongings. Yeah, people will be mad for whatever reason, but at least you gave those you wanted to have your stuff and left out those you felt you didn't want to have it. These two high profile celebrities have done more than they know for all of us. I implore everybody to please get a will! It will let everyone *rest* easier!
Comment by Southern Girl on July 22, 2009 at 10:14am
I learned at the age of 19 the importance of a Will when my mother died of pneumonia in the middle of her divorce! The changes she verbalized and intended were not translated onto legal documents in enough time therefore NOTHING she wanted to take care of, including me, was taken care of! Below is the exact email I sent to family and friends on July 7, after Michael Jackson's death. I hope it speaks to all who read this post from today on!

In the first few days, I knew there would be a huge number of people 1) Creating for the first time OR 2) Editing and updating their Wills after MJ's death and I was right.

Ladies and Gentlemen, take a cue from the professionals, (myself included)! Contact a legal service or attorney soon about writing out the facts as you would like them known. *I just WITNESSED a Will for one of my Law Professors this morning!

If there are "unsavory" family/relatives that you don't want w/your children/money/possessions, etc...you'd better say so! (*I'm also speaking from the experience of my own mother passing in the middle of her divorce back in the early 80's and things DID NOT go as she had planned b/c these things were not in place nor in order!

Life insurance policies, stocks/bonds, investments, savings accounts, etc. get that information together and let good people you know and trust KNOW where it is and how to get to it! Say what you mean and mean what you say and update every five years or as there are changes in your life. (Births, deaths, relocations, etc). Deadbeat parents (male and female), poor money managing spouses (male and female), and hand out-always begging family members/siblings should be named before the come to claim--YOUR STUFF!
Comment by San Kendrick on July 22, 2009 at 9:24am
I believe having a will in place cuts down on all the confusion about your estate and your personal affairs and it saves the family from arguing over who gets what. I have a will in place and have had for many years as a single woman I wanted to make sure that my grandchildren would be taken care of. I think in Michael's situation with him having a will in place I believe his wishes will be followed. In McNair's case what a tinky winky it looks like the wife as taken care of that without a will in place there is nothing that can be done because after all she was his wife. Just because the courts did name the other children she could still give them some of the money who knows. It's just a sad situation for her and the kids all around.


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