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Trusts and Estate Planning - Inheritance Without Planning Means No Adding to the Default Plan



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Trusts and Estate Planning: Inheritance Without Planning Means No Adding to the Default Plan

When a person dies intestate (without making and leaving a will), each state provides a default plan (usually known as the statute of descent and distribution), under which his or her net estate is disposed. When a person dies intestate, there is no adding to the default plan. The default plan is the only plan. This article discusses the disadvantages of descent and distribution related to the inability to add to the default plan.

Who Inherits

Under descent and distribution, a person who wants to plan the disposition of his or her estate cannot transfer his or her property to persons or entities who are not the ''natural objects of one's bounty.'' The types of persons and entities who are not the ''natural objects of one's bounty'' include friends, strangers, businesses, charities, governmental organizations, political organizations, religious organizations, and schools.

Transfer to persons or entities who are not the "natural objects of one's bounty" is necessary where there are no "natural objects of one's bounty." Escheat (transfer of an intestate's property to the government as a last resort, because no legal beneficiary exists to take the intestate's net estate) can be avoided only outside of the normal sequence of descent and distribution.

Under descent and distribution, a person who wants to plan the disposition of his or her estate cannot assure expectant heirs that, if they survive the person making the plan, they will inherit. Such a person cannot anticipate the existence of a posthumous child or anticipate the existence of other afterborn heirs. Such a person cannot assure transfer of his or her property to adopted children or adoptive parents, or to other persons related as the result of an adoption. Such a person cannot assure transfer of his or her property to illegitimate children or illegitimate parents, or to other persons related as the result of an illegitimate relationship.

How They Inherit

Under descent and distribution, a person who wants to plan the disposition of his or her estate cannot arrange to have his or her property transferred in steps or stages, rather than all at once. Such a person cannot put conditions on the transfer of his or her property. Under descent and distribution, a person who wants to plan the disposition of his or her estate cannot specify, in each transfer of his or her property to a group, whether per capita or per stirpes will apply.

Some of the Advantages of Making a Will

All of the disadvantages of descent and distribution related to the inability to add to the default plan can be overcome by making a will. To overcome the disadvantages of descent and distribution, have your lawyer prepare a will (and any other estate planning documents) for you.



View more 'Trusts and Estate Planning' Newsletter Articles from Kiley Law Firm:

Will Contests -- Lack of Testamentary Capacity, Improper Execution, Bogus Will
You cannot contest a will simply because you don't like the provisions, or because you received less (Read more...)


Inheritance Without Planning Means No Adding to the Default Plan
When a person dies intestate (without making and leaving a will), each state provides a default plan (Read more...)


Trust Elements - Trustee
A trust has five main elements. First, a settlor transfers some or all of his or her property. Secon (Read more...)


Precatory Language, Ademption, and Abatement
One of the main purposes for making and leaving a will is to guide the administration of the estate (Read more...)


Trusts, Public and Private - II
An express trust is either public or private. A public trust, also known as a charitable trust, is a (Read more...)


Per Capita and Per Stirpes
Suppose that an intestate is survived by three children and no grandchildren. Who inherits the intes (Read more...)


Failing to Make and Leave a Will
Although estimates vary, it's pretty safe to say that more than 50 percent of the people who could m (Read more...)


Gifts During Life - II
An intentional transfer of property made from the generosity of the transferor is known as a gift. T (Read more...)


The Natural Objects of One's Bounty - I
The phrase "the natural objects of one's bounty" means the closest surviving members of one's family (Read more...)


Trust Modification and Termination
Modification

A court will modify a trust where the trust's leading purpose is frustrated (Read more...)



View more 'Trusts and Estate Planning' News from Kiley Law Firm:

Kiley, Kiley & Kiley obtains 1.4 Million dollar estate litigation award for an heir who was written out of a will and living trust (Trusts and Estate Planning, 2010-Jul)
Donald T. Kiley, Jr. obtained a 1.4 million dollar award for a Nassau woman who was disinherited fro (Read more...)


Donald T. Kiley, Jr. and Kevin J. Kiley give estate planning seminar on behalf of the Catholic Brooklyn/Queens Dioceses (Trusts and Estate Planning, 2007-Oct)
Donald T. Kiley, Jr. and Kevin J. Kiley gave a seminar on estate and elder law planning before a gro (Read more...)

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