One thing I like to do with this blog is to bring you interesting stories that I hear. The field of estate planning is full of all sorts of odd things that most people will never hear. If I find one of those stories, I like to write about it and share it with my readers. I know that it is one of the reasons that many of you keep coming back to this blog.
Sometimes, however, I do not have an interesting story. Instead I have an interesting fact that people do not know about. That is what I have for you today: an interesting fact. It is something that I did not previously know.
If a person passes away in Cornwall, in the United Kingdom, without a Will, the estate is the property of the Prince of Wales. That’s Prince Charles. In the rest of the United Kingdom, the estate would go to the general government. Cornwall is unique. It has garnered Prince Charles around 1 million pounds in the last 6 years. He has donated all of the money to charity.
Learning this got me thinking about our country. In the U.S., if you die without a Will, your money does not go to the government unless you have no relatives. It goes to your closest living relatives as first priority. The government gets the wealth if you have no family. That’s what is called escheating to the state. That is better than in the UK, but it is still not a good idea to die without a Will or a Living TRust in the US.
Making a Will or Trust is the ultimate say and final word you’ll have about your financial affairs. Failing to do either leaves the fate of your estate in the hands of the government. Why let that happen?