John B. made some basic estate planning mistakes in a podcast, according to a Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog discussion in "Estate Planning Lessons from John B."
Millions of people tuned in to hear the story in Serial of a murder and its aftermath. It was one of the first podcasts to receive mainstream critical attention. Its creators are back with a successor show, called S-Town.
This new podcast features the story of John B., the resident of a small town in Alabama. He lives on a 128-acre estate and is believed to be wealthy by the community. He was living with his octogenarian mother with dementia.
John B. apparently told his friend Tyler that he did not have any bank accounts and that Tyler could have $20,000 from his estate. The next day, John B. committed suicide. He did not have a will, but instead left a series of instructions about what to do with his estate.
The drama of the story is in people trying to find out what happened to his money, if he had any at all.
Among John B.’s mistakes are that he did not have a will. While leaving some written instructions is better than nothing, it is not worth very much legally. If any money can be found, then under Alabama law it will all go to his mother.
His friend Tyler would get nothing.
A simple will could have solved that problem.
Care for his mother is set to go to another relative who has been appointed as guardian. Of course, no one should go completely without a bank account.
An estate planning attorney can guide you in creating a will and an estate plan that meet your unique circumstances.
Reference: Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog (April 21, 2017) "Estate Planning Lessons from John B."