You’ve probably read it by now, seen it on the television screen or heard it on the radio. Kobe Bryant, basketball legend – along with eight other passengers, including his 13-year-old daughter Gianna – were killed in a helicopter accident on January 26. Typing those words still don’t feel right. LA Times Columnist Bill Plaschke wrote an impassioned column on how the NBA legend’s death wasn’t supposed to be now and certainly not like this. Unfortunately, we in the estate planning and probate field must remind everyone just exactly why it’s so important to have an estate plan put together. You never know what is going to happen.

It’s a sad thought, especially right now – but the reason we encourage you and others to put together an estate plan is so that you’re leaving your loved ones whatever you desire. Without an estate plan, all of one’s estate assets would be distributed according to the laws of intestacy. This means that the State law determines how the assets will be handed out to each surviving family member. The way in which it is distributed also depends on who of the surviving family is alive.

For example, in the State of Michigan, if you are survived by your spouse and the children the two of you had together, then the spouse would inherit the first $150,000 of the intestate property, as well as half of the balance. Whatever is left over is then inherited by the children. However, if you are survived by your spouse and a child you had from another relationship, the spouse only inherits $100,000 of the intestate property, plus half of the balance. After that, whatever is remaining is inherited by the child.

By having your estate distributed in accordance with the laws of intestacy, you, nor your family will be able to control how the assets are distributed. That’s why we strongly encourage everyone to put together an estate plan. It’s likely – given his lifetime earnings and assets – that Kobe Bryant had an estate plan, you can have your own as well. Call The Probate Pro at (877)-YOUR-FIRM for anything related to wills, estate plans and probate. We want to make sure that you are leaving your loved ones in a more secure position.