Living and breathing estate law is the epitome of my life. It all started when I was a kid growing up in Queens, NY next to the Surrogate court. That is when my fascination with estate & probate law began. It made me realize that this legal field is one of the most important ones in existence. Unlike other legal fields, this one deals with more than just money, it deals with spirituality. That is because peoples religious and idealistic beliefs will play a big roll on how they plan for their future.
For example, in Judaism and Islam, men play a more dominant role in inheritance. This means that by default the assets goes to the men and on the woman. Although in many Jewish homes it is decided beforehand by the parents that the boys will inherit and then pass the girls half by means of a "present" this way they can fulfill the tradition to inherit the boys. In Islam, the men dominate the inheritance fields and it does not seem like there is a "de-facto" roundabout maneuver to get the money to the girls (like in Judaism). Moreover, in religious households where there is no will or instruction what to do, they will be required to go to a local religious authority to decide how to divide the assets. This means that internally the local probate laws will not make a difference to a family where everyone holds strong religious beliefs.
Again, whether religious or not, this all leads to the bottom line understanding of how important it is to plan your estate and avoid probate (whether religious or not). Time and time again I saw families where no will was left trying to understand estate & probate law at the Queens Surrogate court. They looked like their lives were in shambles and it's all because their family did not take time to speak to an estate, elder or probate attorney when they were still alive.