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The Consequences of Dying Without a Will

Amy Winehouse
Real-estate developer Roman Blum wasn't famous during his lifetime. But when the 97-year-old died in 2012, he quickly became famous for something he failed to do during his lifetime: write a will. Or, if he did write one, he neglected to leave it where someone could find it.

Blum, a Holocaust survivor with no living family members, passed away with an estate worth nearly $40 million. It is the largest unclaimed estate in the history of the state of New York, and unless the court-overseen administrator of his assets finds relatives through a genealogist search, every penny could end up going to the state government.

Legacies Left in Limbo

Millions of people don't have wills, never considering the consequences of their actions on the family members and friends who survive them.

Fortunately, getting a will in place doesn't have to be complicated; even a simple will is enough to express your intent for who should receive your assets after your death. Moreover, if you have minor children, wills allow you to name a guardian for them that will avoid any uncertainty about who you want to care for them if something happens to you.

At the same time you get your will done, you should also consider some other valuable estate-planning documents. Living wills and health-care proxies can give doctors and family members more guidance on how you want your medical care handled if you're incapacitated, while a durable power of attorney allows a trusted person to handle your finances when you can't. Here's a rundown of the 10 important documents you should have.

You may not be as rich or famous as the celebrities below, but their lives -- and deaths -- offer a cautionary tale for what can happen when you die intestate. Making a will might seem like a chore, but getting it done will go a long way toward avoiding family feuds after your death and having your memory overshadowed by discord among your loved ones.

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The best thing to do is have a Living Trust....not a will, You list a beneficiary of the trust and you can mut all assests in the name of the trust then you can make separate notations as to who gets what. no lawyer charging money to put a will in probate,,,Whatever personal things or assets upon death become the proprty of the benificiary/s. no one can do anything about the trust because the transfer is automatic upon death and no longer the property of the deceased. /go to WE THE PEOPLE a not for profit deal

May 23 2013 at 8:22 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Dan Arnold

I'm sure Mr. Blum would have wanted the State of New York to have all of his money anyway. They are already doing such a great job of redistributing wealth.

May 23 2013 at 2:09 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

My MIL died without a will and we are still finding assets of hers nearly 4 years later through missing money dot com. She was so paranoid that everyone was after her money that she wouldn't make out a will. We have found assets in 4 states so far including bank accounts, stocks and bonds and life insurance. I guess she thought she was going to take it with her. LOL

May 23 2013 at 2:02 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

let them fight over it all once im gone,.,... i dont care

May 23 2013 at 1:48 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply