Procrastination is common when it comes to estate planning. Many people tend to feel as though estate planning can wait, and this is a gamble in a way. But the thing about this type of gamble is that if you lose, you won’t be the person who suffers the consequences. The families and friends of people who die without planning ahead properly are left to try to sort things out, they don’t always agree with regard to the intentions of the deceased.
As a case in point look no further than the estate of Dr. Martin Luther King. A corporation was formed to handle the estate’s resources, and after the death of King’s widow Coretta Scott King the children of Dr. King became embroiled in a legal battle. Dexter King was sued by his brother and sister who alleged that he refused to allow them to participate in any decision-making on behalf of the corporation. The matter was finally resolved before it made its way into court back in 2009.
Now the estate of Dr. King is once again active on the litigation front. The heirs to the estate are suing 86-year-old former King secretary Maude Williams Ballou. The octogenarian has some documents that she was given by King, and she says they were a gift. The Martin Luther King Jr. Estate Corporation refutes this and wants to seize ownership of the papers.
The best way to prevent acrimonious interactions among family members and others close to you is to elucidate your wishes in no uncertain terms in a legally binding manner. The best way to go about this is with the assistance of an experienced and licensed Nassau County estate planning attorney.