According to a report, Natasha Richardson, 45, was laid to rest at St. Peter’s Episcopal Church in Lithgow, New York on March 22, 2009. Ms. Richardson’s unexpected death resulted from a fall during a beginner skiing lesson. After suffering an epidural hematoma- an accumulation of blood between the brain and skull- the Tony Award-winning actress was taken off life support, a painful decision made by her family. Ms. Richardson was married to actor Liam Neeson and she leaves two children, Micheal, 13, and Daniel, 12.
Given that Natasha Richardson’s family barely had any time to prepare for her death, the emotional pain and loss of such a close family member makes it almost impossible to even think about a will or estate plan; as it is for families throughout the U.S. enduring the abrupt death of a loved one. Not enough of us arrange preparations for our children and our spouse should something catastrophic happen. It is in everyone’s best interest to have an updated estate plan and will to prevent the possibility of lengthy and unnerving legal battles between family members.
In the state of Maryland, if you pass away without a will or estate plan, the state will determine what to do with your property and assets. This can be handled in one of the following ways:
• If you do not have a spouse or children, your parents will receive your assets if they are alive; and if your parents are deceased, then everything goes to your siblings
• If you are married and do not have children, everything goes to your spouse
• If you are married and have children, 50% goes to your spouse and 50% goes to your children
If you have lost a loved one and are concerned about how assets are being taken care of, either by family members or the state, contact George Meng at Meng & Alpert LLC. George Meng has 35 years of experience in estate litigation in Maryland handling complex trust, estate, and real property cases regarding improper handling of estate or trust funds, property, and disputes relating to distributions from estates and trusts. Call 301-627-1600 for a free consultation with Mr. Meng. For more information on estate plans and wills, as well as Natasha Richardson's story, please read "The Importance of Wills & Estate Planning: Natasha Richardson Case Study."