"No Will Can Have Unintended Results"
Even as the number of older people continues to grow, the subject of estate planning remains a sensitive one. Recently, a long-time friend told me how perplexed he was over his elderly parent’s refusal to have wills drawn. My own experience suggests that 75% to 80% of adults either don’t have a will at all or have one that is out of date. Why? The most typical reason is simply procrastination. After all, who wants to think about dying? We all want to believe that we will live until a ripe old age.
In the case of wills, taking no action is the same as taking action since every state effectively draws a will for you if you fail to do so. If you die without a will, you are said to have died ‘intestate’ and your state’s intestate succession laws will determine who receives your property and assets that don’t transfer either by title or beneficiary designation. State laws can be quite quirky and often result in unintended distributions. In the case of my friend, his parents live in
Another common but disastrous situation would be a married couple with no children dying without a will. The
This brings me to another critical point. You want to avoid dying intestate with minor children. In
I am not sure why my friend’s parents refuse to get wills, but I will use this as an opportunity to recommend that each of you consider the consequences of not having one or having one that is out of date. For a state-by-state review of the intestate succession laws, go to the