Most people do not realize that estate planning is full of traps for those who would attempt to leave property to non-family members, especially if they attempt to make sure that their family receives the property if the intended heir does not. This can best be illustrated by using the estate of Jim Morrison as an example.
The singer wanted his girlfriend to receive his property. However, if she was not going to receive it, he did not want it to go to her heirs. Instead, he wanted his family to receive his property if the girlfriend did not. Morrison’s plan was contained in a short Will. If the girlfriend survived him by at least 90 days, then she would inherit his entire estate. If not, then his family would receive the estate.
On the surface, Morrison’s plan seemed like a good solution. Unfortunately, what happened was the one thing that could have frustrated Morrison’s intentions. The girlfriend survived him for the required 90 days, but then passed away shortly thereafter. She left everything to her family, including Morrison’s property.
Make sure that something similar does not happen to you. Talk to an experienced estate planning attorney.
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