Imagine you were on that AirAsia plane that crashed recently and you had no will. Let’s take a look at how things would go here in Connecticut, where state law–not you–dictates how your estate is divided up. The law pertaining to this is governed by Connecticut General Statutes, section 45a-437. You’ll see how differently things could turn out depending on what your family dynamics are. The law has little regard for what your actual wishes might be.
If you die and are survived by your spouse and children of both you and your spouse, your spouse takes the first $100,000 plus half of the remainder. Your children take the other half of the remainder.
If you’re married and have one or more children that are not the children of your spouse, then the spouse takes half and all the children share the other half equally.
If you die leaving behind a spouse and parent or parents with no children, your spouse takes the first $100,000 plus three-quarters of the remainder. Parent(s) take the other quarter.
The list goes on and on. The law does its best to cover the myriad situations where the person has done no planning at all. The above just addresses the case where property is held by you solely at the time of your death and doesn’t begin to cover the situations where property is held jointly with more than one person, which can make the matter even more problematic. My office has been involved in these circumstances many times before. It is never pleasant and invariably requires significantly more legal effort and immensely more cost to sort out the mess that ensues.
Clearly, there is no substitute for your own judgment and wishes reflected in a thoroughly prepared estate plan. Please see come see us and plan for your future today.