Law Office of Stephen W. Penn and Associates

The death of a legend raises questions about estate plans

Estate planning is rarely considered a pleasant topic. No one wants to think about what to do with their properties and assets after their death. But it can be a reassuring experience from at least one perspective. Solid estate plans offer a payoff to relatives, friends and charitable organizations that we decide to reward. When there is no or little planning, the results can be confusing and unpredictable.

The unexpected death of a professional basketball superstar has led to some early questions about his net worth of around $600 million. It was not immediately clear if the victim had a last will and testament that was valid at the time of his death, or a living will to dictate who could make decisions on his behalf.

A recent poll showed that it's possible a majority of Americans do not have a will. The American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) also stated that six in 10 American adults have no will of any kind.

Although many people have a problem with trusting a government institution to enforce a will, and many others have issues with choosing who in a family gets what, a will is almost always the better alternative. People know what to expect, and there is less expenditure of time and money on working out what goes where.

Anyone with serious questions about inheritance and making wills can consult with an attorney on how to create the best estate plan. Legal representation makes this difficult process far easier, and it is more likely people will not miss any important details with a lawyer on their side.

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  • SCBA | Santa Clara County Bar Association | EST 1917
  • State Bar Of California | California Board Of Legal Specialization | Stephen W. Penn
  • Henry P. Collada Memorial Award 2012