While many readers in Miami-Dade, as well as in other localities, have likely heard of the importance of creating an estate plan, some may have the misconception that estate planning is only necessary for those who will leave behind significant assets or properties when they pass away. For those who die without wills, it not only leaves the distribution of property and assets up to the state, it also can lead to other unexpected probate issues and litigation.
According to reports, the husband of a woman who died without a will has claimed a storage locker facility that the woman was renting a locker from will not allow him to reclaim the woman’s personal possessions from the locker. The company reportedly claims that they cannot legally release the property to the man without a notarized statement from the executor of her estate because there are unpaid fees on the unit. Shortly after the woman died, the storage fees purportedly stopped being paid.
Since the woman died without a last will and testament, there was no executor named for her estate. According to reports, the man claims that he sought legal counsel and was advised there is no way to obtain what the storage company is asking for. The man has reportedly filed a lawsuit against the facility in an effort to get his wife’s property back.
To ensure that your heirs receive what you intend them to and to avoid your beneficiaries facing probate issues like the family in this case is involved in, it may be of benefit to consult with an experienced lawyer to discuss creating and estate plan and will. Whether you have a large, complicated estate or more modest assets, an attorney can help you develop a plan that will fit your needs.
Source: KCOY News, “Santa Maria Woman’s Death Leaves Storage Locker Dispute,” Keith Carls, Oct. 29, 2013