Estate planning is important for all self-supporting adults, even those who are still in their 20s and 30s. This may seem like an early age to begin planning, but people die before their time every day, and one can never be too prepared. Even young families are still vulnerable to sudden unexpected losses due to accidents or illnesses. Most young families depend on two incomes to make ends meet. Sadly, for many, the loss of a spouse can mean financial hardship due to a lack of proper planning.
Then there’s the issue of what happens to children if both parents pass away. While it’s certainly an unpleasant topic, there are vital issues to consider, such as who will care for the children day to day, and how the children will be provided for.
Estate planning is arguably more important for younger adults than older adults. The children of senior citizens are already grown and self-supporting in the vast majority of cases. A far different scenario exists when you have dependent children in the home. Learn valuable estate planning lessons from Steve McNair’s estate.
A Case in Point: Steve McNair’s Estate
A few years ago the NFL quarterback Steve McNair was shot and killed by a woman with whom he was in an extramarital affair. He was 36 years of age. McNair did not have a will when he died. Of course, McNair did have significant financial resources, so one might imagine his family was well provided-for after his passing. Unfortunately, the football player’s assets were frozen in probate court since he died without a will.
And then there is the matter of McNair’s mother, Lucille. She was lucky enough to have a very wealthy NFL quarterback for a son, a man who wanted to give something back to his mother. He had a house built for her on 45 acres in Mississippi. She lived in the home for years assuming that it was a gift that was permanent. However, after her son passed away, it came to light that she was not the house’s legal owner.
When you draw up a last will, you can name an executor to administer your estate. If you don’t name an executor in your will, or if you don’t have a will, the court will appoint a personal representative to administer the estate. In this case, the court named McNair’s surviving spouse as personal representative. She demanded $3000 per month in rent from McNair’s mother. Lucile didn’t have that kind of money, so she was forced to leave. To make matters worse, she took various items with her when she left. She says she purchased them. Attorneys representing McNair’s widow demanded that she return the value of these items, a figure that exceeds $50,000.
You may not have any star NFL quarterbacks in your family, and you may not have a million-dollar estate to pass on to your heirs. But Steve McNair’s story still offers a valuable lesson: failure to plan the details of your estate can leave your family facing financial hardship or even personal conflict. If you’ve never thought about estate planning, an experienced estate planning attorney can help you get started. You can also visit the reports section of our website for access to free documents that can help you better understand the world of estate planning.
It’s not too late to get started. Help ensure your loved ones’ future peace of mind.