I have yet to meet someone who enjoys planning around their own death; this seems especially true with the under fifty set. Unfortunately, people pass away unexpectedly every day. There are many reasons why facing your mortality may be unpleasant; however, there are many more reasons why doing so is important.
I recently came across a story on the estate of murdered NFL quarterback Steve McNair. Perhaps you’ll recall that McNair was murdered in 2009 by a woman with whom he had an extramarital affair. McNair was 36 years old at the time of his death and had no estate plan. A lengthy and expensive legal battle followed his death and his family paid the price both financially and emotionally.
The McNair estate was estimated at around $19 million dollars. With no plan in place, the widow was slapped with millions in taxes, reducing the amount available to McNair’s children. In addition, the estate finances and assets, which would have been the subject of speculation and inquiry in any event, were all the more public because of the probate process.
There are, regrettably, too many other examples of people passing before their time. Because younger individuals are more likely to have minor children, a well drafted plan is all the more crucial. Facing our mortality may be an unpleasant task, but it can save your loved ones from additional strain and uncertainty during an already devastating time.
Contributed by MH Phoenix Estate Planning Attorney Andrea Claus.
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This blog should be used for informational purposes only. It does not create an attorney-client relationship with any reader and should not be construed as legal advice. If you need legal advice, please contact an attorney in your community who can assess the specifics of your situation.