Practicing proper estate planning is not that hard, especially the basics. The biggest mistake is have no estate plan. Why? Your life’s work may escheat to your state treasury by default.
Escheat is the principle that there is no such thing as estate-limbo. Basically, an estate can sit in limbo for only so long before it gets swallowed up by the state where the decedent last resided. Consider the case of Roman Blum in New York, as reported in a recent Forbes article titled “N.Y. State Could Get $40 Million From Man Who Died Without A Will.” You can read all of the details in the original article, but Mr. Blum likely did not intend the State of New York to benefit from his life’s work as a real estate developer.
For whatever reason, many otherwise responsible Americans do not take time to meet with an estate planning attorney to ensure the proper administration and distribution of their estates. The failure to make proper estate plans is really a plan to fail at your estate planning.
Remember: When making your financial, tax and estate plans, don't go it alone. Be sure to engage competent professional counsel.
Reference: Forbes (April 28, 2013) “N.Y. State Could Get $40 Million From Man Who Died Without A Will"