Have you considered that, without an estate plan, it may be likely that your heirs will face difficulty after you pass away in sorting out your assets and any debts you may have? Everything you own can be included in your estate. Your home and any other real property you own, your vehicles, bank accounts, investment and retirement accounts, cash value life insurance, and personal property, may all be assets that can and will be inherited by someone else upon your passing. Let us review three reasons why you need at least a last will and testament in order to help ensure your estate is passed on to your heirs as you would see fit.
- Someone Has to Decide. A will can serve as a set of instructions for the personal representative you name to carry out your wishes. If you do not have a will, the probate court in your area will choose someone to be your executor, and it will probably be the closest relative the court can find who is willing to take on the job. This may not be the same person you would have chosen, and he or she may not proceed with the care you would wish for your estate.
- How Your Assets Will Be Divided. If you do not leave a will, your assets will be distributed according to the intestacy laws of your state, which may not be how you would wish them to be distributed. The state intestacy laws usually list the order of those who will inherit from the estate. The closest relatives are generally set to inherit, but depending on which family members survive you, the list may go down to your next closest relatives and beyond. Should you pass away without any surviving family members, it is likely that your property will pass to the state.
- It is Not Just About Money. If you have children, your will should also contain provisions for their care. Additionally, if you want to be buried in a specific manner, you can spell this out in your will. A last will and testament can help you make sure things go as you desire after you pass away.
For assistance with estate planning and related legal matters, our office is here to help. Please reach out to us to schedule a meeting.