Not to be morbid, but death can happen at any time. Younger adults in their 20s and 30s often do not create an estate plan, especially if they are not married or do not have any children. They usually expect to live for many, many years, and in most cases they do.
But sometimes, tragedy strikes, and people die before their time. Without a will to illuminate the deceased’s final wishes, it will probably be up to the state’s intestate laws to distribute his or her assets and handle the estate. A dispute could arise over a relatively simple matter that takes years to resolve in probate court.
A case from Florida provides a tragic example, as reported by Reuters.
The parents of a 23-year-old man who was killed in a car accident in 2010 are currently fighting in court over what to do with his cremated remains. His father had wanted to divide the ashes in half, but a court ruled in May that the cremains are not property, so they cannot be divided.
The parents, who are divorced, are in dispute over this issue because they want to bury the cremains in different parts of the country. This is not unusual for loved ones to do, but the mother objected to the split, and the judge ruled there is no legal precedent for compelling the division under Florida law.
That brought the parents back to court recently. The judge presiding over the hearing said he plans to appoint a third party to resolve the dispute.