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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