In Texas, the death of a loved one is a traumatic time. This is compounded when the loved one had substantial assets and failed to take the necessary estate planning steps. Heirs and beneficiaries should think about how to deal with such a case, especially when there are blended families, divorces and children from different marriages.
The estate of a wealthy real estate investor who died in January 2017 is in dispute. The investor had five children, two ex-wives, and owed money to numerous entities, including the Internal Revenue Service. The man died intestate at the age of 83. His estate was valued at close to $300 million before he died. It consists of real estate in several states and other properties. An independent administrator was named to oversee his estate after he died.
It is being reported that the value of the assets is not clear, as much of it was based on speculation. The most recent court filing in early May 2018 said that his assets were worth $54 million, but there are debts to lenders and creditors that must be considered. The valuation does not take into account the properties in states other than Texas. The different families are in dispute over various issues related to the estate and the distribution of assets.
While this is an extreme case as to what can happen when a person of vast means fails to have an estate plan, there can be negative effects for anyone who does not create a will, a trust or some other device to allocate their assets after death. A person who wants to have a comprehensive estate plan should contact an experienced estate planning attorney. So, too, should a family in the middle of a dispute, whether it is a large estate or one of more modest means, to address their beneficiary concerns.