Unfortunately, a significant percentage of Americans do not have a last will or a trust in place to facilitate the transfer of their financial assets after they die.
There are those who understand that they should have an estate plan, but they keep kicking the responsibility down the road. They don’t expect to die any time soon, so they feel as though they can create a will or trust on another day.
This is a rather irresponsible point of view. You have no guarantees with regard to when you’re going to pass away. If you watch the news on television or follow the news when you are surfing the Internet you hear about people dying at all ages every day.
Going without a will or trust is kind of like driving your car without insurance. The big difference is that your family would pay the price if you do in fact die without an estate plan.
Have you ever wondered what would happen if you died without a last will or a trust in place? The answer is that you would die intestate. Your property would be distributed by the probate court under intestate succession rules.
The manner in which your property is transferred may not be consistent with what you would have wanted if you would have taken the time to put an estate plan in place. This is a primary reason to take action.
In addition to this, even if you didn’t mind the succession rules guiding the distribution the estate would be stuck in probate for a considerable amount of time. Your family may need that money right away. You can make sure that your remaining financial assets get into the hands of your selected heirs in a timely manner if you plan your estate effectively.
The transfer of financial assets is not the only thing to take into consideration when you are thinking about the process of estate planning. It is not uncommon for people to become incapacitated and unable to make their own decisions.
If you were in a tragic accident that resulted in devastating injuries how would you want doctors to proceed? Would you want to be kept alive via the utilization of ventilators and feeding tubes if you were in a terminal, vegetative state? This can be a devastating decision for a family to make on their own. You can state your choices in a legally binding manner by executing a living will.
You can also choose people who would be empowered to make decisions for you in the event of your incapacitation through the execution of durable powers of attorney.
If you don’t have a will, a trust, or any other estate planning documents in place now is the time to take action. If you do nothing while hoping for the best you could ultimately be placing those that you love in a difficult situation.