Most people know that they need a will. Regrettably, very few do anything about it. Let’s look at some of the consequences for your family and loved ones if you pass away without a proper estate plan:
- If you have children under the age of 18, you lose control over who becomes their guardian. They could become wards of the state or end up in the custody of a relative you would not have chosen. What kind of home would they have?
- Your assets go into probate. Legal fees and court costs will significantly erode the value of your assets.
- Your assets might not be distributed the way you would have wanted.
- You lose control over who the executor is and might wind up with a person who does not care about the best interests of your heirs.
- A charitable organization that you might want to support with your estate plan will get nothing if you do not have a will.
People often wait until an emergency occurs before trying to put together a proper estate plan. In their haste, mistakes can occur or the documents may not get completed in time. It is best to get your will completed when things are calm and you have the time to review things carefully. Even if you already have an estate plan in place, it is important to review it periodically to make sure it still makes sense and to modify your plan as needed.
While you are creating a will, you should also create a Medical Power of Attorney, Living Will and a Power of Attorney for Property. These documents allow someone you trust to make medical decisions for you and handle your assets if you become disabled. Without a proper estate plan, the government and/or a judge will make all the important decisions about your legacy. Who do you trust more, you or someone you never met?
A living trust also makes sense for many people. It allows you to retain ownership and control of your assets during your lifetime and makes the transition of ownership seamless when you pass away. Trusts provide the added benefit of privacy and making contingency plans in case one of your heirs dies before you or at the same time as you.
Contact our estate planning attorneys soon. We make the process easy by providing you with a questionnaire which gives us the information we need to discuss your best options and the costs involved. Upon receipt of a completed questionnaire, we will contact you.