Craig's Corner - Wealth Planning Insights

Friday, April 11, 2014

Dying Without a Will- A Cautionary Tale

Creating a will is perhaps the easiest and most effective way to protect your property and loved ones.

Most individuals are highly protective of their property, and want to guarantee the material security of their children, spouse, partner and other loved ones upon their passing. Not enough people comprehend that a will is one of the simplest ways individuals can protect their loved ones- in both a legal and a financial sense- following an untimely death. A will ensures that your hard-earned wealth, property and other assets will be passed on to the stated beneficiaries.

A high-profile celebrity news story illustrates how the lack of a will can create a devastating situation for surviving loved ones. In 2004 Stieg Larsson passed away after publishing the ground-breaking Millennium Trilogy, which included The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, The Girl Who Played with Fire and The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets’ Nest. The Millennium Trilogy sold 70 million copies, which generated a vast fortune for Larsson and his estate.

Larsson was survived by his partner of 30 years Eva Gabrielsson. In most instances, the surviving partner of a millionaire will become a millionaire herself, but not in this instance. Why?

The author had no will when he passed away, so his estate was inherited by his father and brother. Subsequent journalistic investigations revealed that:

  • Larsson and Gabrielsson did not marry due to Larsson’s fear that a marriage would have precipitated the necessity of their publicly revealing their addresses. Larsson had reported in the past on extremist groups and felt that the publishing of his home address would have been a security risk. If they had been married, Larsson's estate would have been left to Gabrielsson.
  • Larsson had little contact with his father and brother in the years preceding his death.
  • A fourth Millennium Trilogy book has remained unpublished due partly to estate and ownership disputes.

Perhaps fortunately, the will Larsson drafted in 1977 when he was just 23 years old was ruled invalid because it was not witnessed. The invalid will stated Larsson's wishes to leave his estate to a Communist Workers League that had since morphed into several different political organizations.

As this case shows, the simple act of creating a will can prevent heartache for loved ones and easily protect property. If you need legal help regarding a will, trusts or any estate planning document in Nevada, contact Stone Law Offices in Las Vegas at 877-905-0890.

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S. Craig Stone II of Stone Law Offices, Ltd. serves clients throughout Clark County, Southern NV, Las Vegas, Henderson, Boulder City, North Las Vegas, Summerlin, Carson City, Reno, Washoe County, and Nye County. Also serving clients with asset protection nationwide.

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