‘Too young’ to make a Will?
The world of Rap and Hip-Hop music was recently shocked by the death of young rising star XXXTentacion.
Real name Jahseh Dwayne Onfroy - was shot during a possible robbery in South Florida, at just 20 years old.
Since his death, Jahseh’s mother has announced the rapper was expecting his first child with his girlfriend.
It has also been reported that Jahseh had died without having made a Will. In England, this is called dying ‘intestate’. Jahseh left an estimated estate worth $2m which will rise with future royalty payments.
The fact that Jahseh did not make a Will could create a complex legal situation.
In the USA, each individual US State sets its own legislation to determine what happens to the estate of someone who dies without leaving a Will and is a resident in that State.
As Jahseh lived and died in Florida, his estate will be dealt with under the Florida Probate Code.
The Florida Probate Code says that - ‘Heirs of the decedent conceived before his or her death, but born thereafter, inherit intestate property as if they had been born in the decedent’s lifetime.’
This means that Jahseh’s unborn child will be entitled to his fortune when it is born and his girlfriend will be entitled to nothing as they were not married, despite more than likely needing financial support on the upbringing of their child.
The same would apply under English law as is set out in the Intestacy Rules which are contained in the Administration of Estates Act 1925.
Clearly, Jahseh’s girlfriend may be upset or face financial difficulties as a result of this and feel that she should receive some or all of his estate.
Under English law, in this type of situation, a dependent can make a claim for provision from an estate under the Inheritance (Provision for Family & Dependants) Act 1975. These claims can take a very long time to resolve and be very expensive for all the parties concerned.
Many young people do not consider making a Will. However, as this case highlights it is very important for anyone who has any assets, has a child or loved ones that they want to ensure would inherit their estate should anything happen to them.
Making a Will Checklist
When you are ready to write your last will, think about who among your loved ones you would like to inherit real and/or personal property from you.
Listing your beneficiaries may seem like an unnecessary step in the process, but remember that recent births, deaths, marriages, divorces, etc., may influence who you wish to include in your will. At this point, you don't need to specify who you want to receive what; just focus on the people involved so you know you won't be forgetting anyone.
Also know that disinheriting your spouse and/or children may not be possible in some jurisdictions.
Make a list of your significant assets you will want to leave to loved ones. This can include houses, vehicles, and family businesses, and then work your way down to smaller items like jewelry or family heirlooms.
Some assets cannot be bequeathed within a will (or you may wish to handle them in other ways such as living trusts), but at this point, you should get all the assets down on paper so you know what you're dealing with.
When listing your assets, remember that you can only distribute property that is owned solely in your name. That is, if you are married and your spouse holds joint title on an asset, you cannot leave that property to someone else in your will.
Make a list of all of your debts, including but not limited to the following:
- Car loans/leases
- Credit cards
- Student loans
- Personal loans
- Outstanding taxes
Although you won't be leaving your debts to anyone in your will, it is helpful to get an idea of your estate's overall financial status so you can plan accordingly regarding funeral expenses, probate costs, and taxes.
Some debts may become the responsibility of the estate, so you may want to consider taking out a life insurance policy, for instance, to help cover certain expenses after your death.
By making a Will, you can ensure that your loved ones and dependents are provided for fairly.
For unmarried young couples, making Wills is especially important as the law does not make any provision for the survivor if either dies.
Jahseh Dwayne Onfroy is a perfect example of the importance of making a Will, wherever you are in the world.
If you wish to discuss your options, please do not hesitate to contact us on 01302 341414.