You will always hear estate planning attorneys emphasizing how important it is to plan for the future. Many people will let this advice go in one ear and out the other, telling themselves that they will always have time to make these plans at a later date. The cold hard truth is that if you do this you are putting the people that you love in harm’s way.
As a case in point consider the estate of the man who wrote the popular crime novel The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, a book that was subsequently adapted to the big screen. The author was a Swedish fellow named Stieg Larsson and his talents with the pen paid off handsomely. It was estimated that the estate of Stieg Larsson was worth around $40 million when he passed away in 2004.
Larsson died intestate, meaning that he passed away without having executed any estate planning documents. He reportedly lived with the same woman for some 32 years. He passed away at age 50, so they were together for his entire adult life.
It would be logical to assume that a man worth $40 million who had a live-in girlfriend for over 30 years would want to provide something for her after his death. But in fact the courts ruled that she would receive nothing and that his entire estate would go to his father and brother.
Situations such as these paint a very clear picture: If you fail to plan ahead disastrous results can ensue. If you are currently unprepared for the inevitable, right now would be a good time to stop the cycle of procrastination and make an appointment to speak with a good Somerset County estate planning lawyer.