Most people don’t want to think about the possibility of their own death. However, if you want to determine what happens to your assets and children when you die, it’s vital to take the time to create a comprehensive estate plan. Without a plan in place, you leave your loved ones at the mercy of state laws.
Here’s five reasons not having an estate plan can negatively impact you (and those you love):
1. No designated guardian for your kid(s). If you and your spouse die without a will and you have children under 18, you won’t have the opportunity to choose who raises your children. Think about that for a moment. Your children would end up wherever state law determines – and in some cases, your family members could fight for custody in a long, expensive court battle. Even a simple plan is better than no plan, particularly if minors are involved. We feel so strongly about this, we are offering a free resource to name short-term guardians for your kids.
2. You won’t choose the executor of your estate. An executor of your estate plan is the person who represents you after your death. They play an important role in ensuring that your wishes are adhered to and taking care of your remaining financial responsibilities. This is an essential role, and choosing the right person is vital.
3. You lose the opportunity to determine who receives your assets. If you don’t have your estate plan documented, the state’s laws will determine who inherits your assets. It doesn’t matter what you’ve said verbally, if you don’t have a documented estate plan, the state will make those decisions for you.
4. Your estate may go through a lengthy probate process. By having an estate plan, you can help avoid completely (or at least lessen) the probate process. Probate is the legal procedure that makes sure property and possessions are distributed correctly and any taxes or debts are paid. Depending on the estate plan put in place, you can avoid a lengthy and costly probate for your beneficiaries or at least streamline the process.
5. You miss out on tax planning opportunities. While most individuals may not need to worry about federal estate taxes, many states have their own estate tax. Depending on the size of your estate, you can put plans in place to minimize the estate taxes that could impact your loved ones once you pass. An attorney can help you navigate the federal and state estate tax laws when preparing your plan.
If you are ready to develop an estate plan, we are here to assist you. At de Jesus Law Group, we will help you build a comprehensive estate plan that fits who you are and what you want for your estate. We’ll make sure to protect the legacy you leave behind for your family. Contact us today to get started.