Nearly everyone anticipates they will live a long life. Because of this, many people don’t begin estate planning until much later in life, but this can cause serious problems for loved ones in the event of an untimely death.
When someone passes away without leaving a will or other estate planning documents, the deceased’s assets must go through probate court, which can lead to lengthy and expensive proceedings.
Passing Away Intestate
When someone passes away intestate, or without a will, the probate process begins. The first step in probate is for a probate court to appoint an administrator to the estate. This administrator must then collect and inventory all of the deceased’s assets and have them appraised. This step in the process can be highly contentious, as seen by the lengthy probate proceedings still underway for the music legend Prince.
It’s been over two years since Prince met his tragic death, but his heirs have yet to receive anything from his estate. Prince died with neither estate planning documents nor a will in place, and the court-appointed administrator of his estate can’t come to an agreement with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) regarding the worth of his assets.
Not only have his heirs been waiting for over two years, but the estate is quickly burning through money. When someone dies without leaving a will, the deceased is expected to pay for the proceedings. This is done out of the estate, which probate proceedings are trying to distribute. In Prince’s case, the administrator and the administrator’s lawyers have already been paid approximately $5.9 million in fees and expenses. Additionally, they have requested an additional $2.9 million. This means nearly $9 million of Prince’s estate will not go to his heirs, but to lawyers and court fees.
It’s Never Too Early To Start An Estate Plan
No one likes thinking about their own death, but not doing so could rob your heirs of your assets. At Hensley Krueger LLP, we work with clients to create unique estate plans that protect their interests from probate, creditors, and other sources that can reduce the amount left to those you love. Contact us today to schedule an appointment with one of our dedicated estate planning attorneys.