Some people hear about the laws of Intestate succession and think that they sound like a reasonable way to leave their property to their heirs. This is because, by design, the laws of Intestate succession do what most people would want done with their property after they pass away. The property goes to the deceased’s closest living relatives. Because this is what most people would do in an estate plan, they make the mistake of trying to save money by counting on the laws of Intestate succession to distribute their estates.
However, problems can arise because before a Court can use state law to give your property to your closest living relatives, the Court has to determine who your relatives are. This is not always an easy process, especially if you have enough wealth to entice people to come forward and make false claims of relationship with you. All of those false claims have to be investigated.
That happened recently in Nevada when Walter Samasko Jr. was found dead in his home along with $7.4 million in gold coins and bars. Many claimed to be his long lost relatives. It took officials months to investigate all of the false claims before determining that Samasko’s closest living relative was a cousin who will now inherit the entire fortune. The process would have been much easier with a Will or estate plan.
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