Many people assume estate planning is a task for the distant future, especially if they’re young or don’t possess a significant amount of wealth. However, avoiding this essential step in financial planning could set your loved ones up for a world of complications and stress.
When you die without a will or trust, you plunge your estate into intestacy. Here’s a rundown of why this is a dangerous gamble.
Zero Control Over Your Hard-Earned Assets
Dying without a will means surrendering control of your assets to the state’s intestacy laws. These laws follow a predefined formula, favoring biological family members and legal spouses. This rigid system does not accommodate any special wishes or unique circumstances you may have.
The Drag of Probate Court
Intestacy mandates that your estate undergoes probate – a lengthy, public, and often expensive court procedure. It drains resources from your estate, delaying the asset distribution your family might urgently need. Additionally, probate fees can mount up, eroding the worth of your estate. Even a simple probate for a modest value home can cost your family $25,000 or more in attorney fees.
Family Feuds Loom Large
When there’s no will to make your preferences clear, family members can clash over what they believe you would have wanted. A lack of documentation often leads to disagreements, fractured relationships, and, in the worst-case scenarios, legal battles.
Minor Children Caught in the Crossfire
Parents with young children must consider the ramifications of not designating a guardian in their will. In the absence of a will, the courts will decide who gets to care for your children. That person might not be someone you would have ever chosen for this vital role.
Non-Traditional Families Get the Short End of the Stick
If your family doesn’t fit the conventional mold, they’re at an even greater risk when you die intestate. Unmarried partners, friends, and stepchildren may get completely ignored when your estate is divided according to the state’s default rules.
Overlooking Items of Emotional Value
Your estate is not just about money or property. It includes sentimental items that your loved ones might cherish. Dying without a will risks these items being distributed or sold without any regard for their emotional importance.
The Cold, Impersonal Nature of Law
Remember, courts follow legal procedures, not personal preferences or emotional considerations. Legal systems don’t adjust their rulings to accommodate the complexities of familial relationships or individual wishes.
Ignoring estate planning is a costly mistake that can result in legal headaches, emotional turmoil, and financial losses. Secure the future of your loved ones and the distribution of your assets by consulting with professionals today. Don’t let the repercussions of intestacy jeopardize what you’ve spent a lifetime building.
Schedule a Consultation Today!
There are a number of different reasons why people do not take action to put estate plans in place. One of them is the fact that many individuals simply do not know where to begin. Plus, even if you come to the conclusion that you should work with a lawyer, you may take pause.
It can be difficult to confide in someone that you have just met about very personal family and financial matters. For this reason, you may drag your feet even though you know that you should put a plan in place to protect your loved ones and assert your wishes.
This is definitely understandable, and we take this dynamic to heart. When you choose our firm, we will make you feel comfortable from the start, and the ice will be broken immediately. Going forward, we will gain an understanding of your situation and your legacy goals.
Recommendations will be made based on the circumstances so you can make fully informed decisions. At the end of the process, you will walk away with a tailor-made plan that ideally suits your needs.
If you are ready to get started, you can send us a message to request a consultation appointment at our Burbank, CA estate planning office, and we can be reached by phone at 818-937-2335.