When you are a young person you may not take estate planning that seriously, and the truth is that most young people don’t have an estate plan in place.
Many don’t take action because they simply feel as though they are not going to be passing away for decades. This is perhaps understandable, but it is not necessarily the most responsible viewpoint. Young people do sometimes die before their time.
Others do not care much about estate planning because they simply don’t have much to pass along to those that they would be leaving behind. This is certainly not the case with young people who are fortunate enough to make a lot of money like actors, successful musicians, and professional athletes.
When you think about Jim Morrison, deceased lead singer of the incredibly successful band The Doors, you may conjure an image of a man who lived in the moment. Given his image and reputation for hard living and freewheeling actions no one would be surprised to find out that he died without an estate plan.
In fact, Jim Morrison did have a last will in place at the time of his death. He did not have any children to provide for, and he had no relationship with his parents. In fact, he disowned them and told people that he never wanted to see them ever again.
He did have a girlfriend that turned out to be his common-law wife in the eyes of the courts after he passed away. This woman, Pamela Courson, was named in his will as the sole heir to his estate assuming she lived for at least 90 days after Morrison’s passing.
In the will Morrison stated that he wanted his brother and sister to inherit his estate if Pamela Courson did not live for the 90 days. So, we know that Jim Morrison wanted his brother and sister to inherit his estate if Pamela could not.
Pamela Courson died a couple of years after Jim died, but unlike Morrison she didn’t have a last will at the time of her passing.
When you die without a will you are said to have died intestate. Under these circumstances there are intestate succession laws that are followed by the state within which you resided.
A spouse would come first, but Pamela was not married and she had no children. As a result, her parents were her closest blood relatives, and under these intestate succession rules they inherited her property. Later they agreed to share it with Jim’s parents.
So the Coursons and the Morrisons owned the estate of Jim Morrison, but we know that he wanted his brother and sister to inherit his resources and the rights to his work if Pamela Courson was not living.
He could have made sure this happened if he planned his estate more effectively by leaving the assets in a trust with his brother and sister as secondary beneficiaries.
Mr. Kraft assists clients primarily in the areas of estate planning and administration, Medicaid planning, federal and state taxation, real estate and corporate law, bringing the added perspective of an accounting background to his work.