"I don't need a Will right now. I'll get to it when I'm older." Is this something that has gone through your mind? If so you are not alone. The majority of peole in the United States do not have en estate plan. They figure that there is always tomorrow; there will be time. That's what Abraham Lincoln (a lawyer!), Jimi Hendrix, Prince, Martin Luther King Jr, Stieg Larson, and Steve McNair all thought. They didn't expect to die when they did. The cost their loved ones paid was expensive.
Prince: The legendary artist died of a fentanyl overdose in April 2016 at the age of 57. He did not have a will. He left behind an estate of approximately 156 million dollars. This past August a Minnesota judge signed off on a dealthat ended a 6 year court battle over the estate. Instead of grieving and preserving his legacy, the close to him battled in court for money and bragging rights to the intellectual proeprty rights of his music.
Steve McNair the legendary quarterback died in 2009 of a murder-suicide. He didn't leave a will but had expressed that he wanted his family taken care of in the event of his death. While alive he gifted his mother a home but did not sign the deed in her name. His wife has since sued his mother and evicted her from the home because she could not afford to pay the rent his wife had charged.
Martin Luther King Jr: Dr. King was assasinated in 1968. His family is still fighting legal battles regarding control of his estate. King's children battled over keeping his personal traveling bible and Nobel Peace Prize Medal in 2014.
Abraham Lincoln: His estate was divided between his wife and children. Even though he was an attorney and President, this division took more than 2 years to complete.
Amy Winehouse: The famous british singer died at the age of 27. There is an ongoing legal battle for the estate.
Stieg Larson: The authero fo "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" died in 2004 without a will. Under the laws of Sweden, his estae was divided between his brother and father. Unfortunately Eva Gabrielsson, his partner of more than 32 years received nothing.
Jimi Hendrix: the legendary musician died in 1970 without a will. The battle over his estate lasted 30 years.
We will never know what these famous people wanted for their family and loved ones. We are however, fairly confident that they did not want thier loved ones thrown out in the street or dragged into an expensive and emotionally exhausting legal battle. This could have been avoided by taking just a little time to draft and execute an estate plan. Have you done all that you could to protect your family?