There are better—and often more creative—ways to plan and divide that can avoid family squabbles over cars, jewelry, furniture and household items.
Take the squabbling between siblings you’ve had to endure and referee as a parent. Now multiply it times age and money. That might give you some idea of the need to make your final wishes clear when the time comes to divvy up your assets.
History is filled with examples of celebrities who died without a will: Bob Marley, Prince, Howard Hughes, Pablo Picasso, Jimi Hendrix and even Abraham Lincoln.
In terms of executor vs. beneficiary rights, there are several differences with regard to what type of authority each one has.
A badly in debt woman dies leaving the proceeds of substantial insurance policies to her children only to have her trust contested by relatives who claim an amendment naming the children as beneficiaries is invalid with no witnesses, misspelled names, suspicious signatures and was never given to previous trustees for review as required by agreement. A long, expensive, and protracted legal battle likely is brewing.
There is no legal requirement that anyone give anyone else money or property when they pass. The law says that as long as you understand what you’re doing, you can give your assets to anyone you feel like giving them to, equal or not.