On September 28, 2012

Without proper estate planning, one problem that arises after someone in Colorado passes on without a will is confusion as to who should benefit from the estate. In such a situation, it will be up to the executor of an estate to pursue legitimate heirs who can receive the inheritance. This can be a very important aspect of estate administration, especially if a substantial inheritance is at stake.

In the news recently is the story of a woman who may end up inheriting nearly $10 million from the estate of a deceased relative. However, the case is currently in intestacy, since he didn’t have an enforceable will to account for the entirety of his assets.

After the 69-year-old reclusive man died, in addition to $200 left in a bank account, administers of his estate discovered a massive coin collection in his home and garage. The collection included gold and silver coins, many having substantial value. Considering the large amount that is at stake, a judge has authorized an investigation in order to determine who is the rightful heir to the assets, along with an inquiry into the value of the deceased man’s estate.

Once this man’s estate is valuated, then it will also be necessary to determine the amount of inheritance tax due. This tax can range from anywhere between 35 and 38 percent on the amount of his estate that is above $5.2 million.

What was this man’s intent for these coins? Did he realize the value of the estate that he would leave behind? Did he have a beneficiary in mind who could enjoy the value of his assets? If so, it would have been wise to have a validly executed will in place that could outline his wishes without having to go through an uncertain — sometimes contentious — legal process..

Now, it is possible that his distant relative will collect a windfall, but would that have been this deceased man’s intent or would he have preferred his money to be left elsewhere. Since he died intestate and without an estate plan, we will never know.

Source: Las Vegas Sun, “No word from teacher in line for $10 million inheritance,” Cy Ryan, Sept. 25, 2012

Categories: Estate Administration

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