It is important to work with an estate planning attorney who understands your needs and your wishes for your estate. You have no say in how your estate will be handled if you fail to execute an estate plan. The failure to execute a will, trust, or other estate planning tools can lead to familial strife as various family members may have different ideas on how to divide up the assets of an estate. The lack of a will can also lead to corruption, fraud, and probate litigation that can drag on for years.
One estate marred in litigation is that of reggae singer Bob Marley. Marley died without executing a will because he believed that his Rastafarian religion prevented him from acknowledging his mortality. This opened his estate to fraud when his wife's lawyers allegedly forged estate planning documents after his death. The scheme was uncovered by Marley's former managers who started the legal battles which would throw an attorney and an accountant in jail for fraud, among other things.
This could have been avoided with the execution of a will. Although Marley's situation is unique in that he consciously decided not to execute a will for religious reasons, many Texas residents also fail to execute wills due to procrastination. This failure can be a serious risk and damage familial relations if an unforeseen death does happen.
Bob Marley died 30 years ago, but the litigation in surrounding his estate continues. Avoid the headache and heartache associated with probate litigation by making sure you have a comprehensive estate plan in place.
Source: Forbes, "Are Bob Marley's Heirs Destroying His Legacy?" Danielle and Andy Mayoras, Dec. 5, 2011