Leslie Carter, the 25 year old sister of Backstreet Boys member Nick Carter and singer Aaron Carter, died on January 31, 2012.  It has been reported that she suffered from an overdose and was under the influence of several drugs at the time of her death.  The singer had a long history of mental illness and was on medication for her depression.  The Carter family appeared on a 2006 reality show, “House of Carters.”  Carter is survived by her husband of three years, Mike Ashton, and a daughter, Alyssa Jane Ashton. Full article.

It is estimated that nearly half Americans die without an estate plan of their own.  This does not mean there is no estate plan.  If a person dies without a will, then the decedent’s estate will pass according to the laws of intestacy.  New York legislature has designed a scheme of distribution that provides default rules for distribution in the absence of a will.  Under the statutory framework of intestacy, a surviving spouse is guaranteed the first $50,000 whether the decedent dies with or without a will.  If the decedent has surviving children, the children will split one-half of the remaining amount with one-half of the balance to the surviving spouse.  If there is no surviving spouse or children, the entire estate passes equally to the deceased person’s parents.

The attorneys at Leeds, Morelli & Brown, P.C. have worked with a variety of families in Nassau and Suffolk counties, Manhattan, Queens, Brooklyn, Bronx, and Staten Island.  For questions regarding estate planning, please contact an attorney at the Leeds Morelli & Brown P.C. law firm for a free consultation at 1-800-585-4658 or 516-873-9550 or visit the firm’s website at www.lbestatelaw.com.