THE BLOG
07/31/2009 05:12 am ET | Updated Nov 17, 2011

Jackson Irresponsible If He Died Without Will

The orderly transfer of wealth on death is a topic first set out in the Bible. In Numbers -- Chapter 27, the succession of a man's property was strictly outlined and couldn't be deviated from. To this day, we have a similar list of heirs as part of our law.

Of course, with the evolution of individual freedom came the right of persons to exercise their "will" over the inheritance of their property. The "Will", as we know it, is the manner in which individuals decide who administers their estate, who receives their financial assets and allows control over the manner in which the assets are given to beneficiaries.

What happens when someone dies without leaving a Will? In essence, it is "Back to the Bible" -- a strict list of beneficiaries and the order in which they inherit. In every state, the law sets out who is to receive a person's assets when he or she dies without a Will. There is no flexibility allowed.

Preparing a Will allows succession to be specifically and individually tailored to one's personal goals, financial situation, and most importantly, to the needs of one's beneficiaries. Leaving one's children without easy access to funds while they are going up or forcing the administrator to hand over all of the inheritance when each child turn 21 years old is not necessarily in the their best interest.

If reports are true, Michael Jackson may have died without a Will. Is it surprising that Jackson could have died intestate? For some, preparing a Will can mean confronting one's own mortality. Jackson, it appears, was like a child who could never grow up. From that perspective, it is no wonder that he did not prepare a Will. But above all, Jackson was an individual, willing to break from the crowd and live life his own way, on his own terms.

With his final breath, did Jackson gave up his individuality and leave it to the State to decide how his fortunes would be distributed?

I expect not. No parent wants to leave a legacy of irresponsibility.

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