A lot of people procrastinate when it comes to estate planning because they assume that they can take action very late in their lives when the end is relatively near. They know that it is possible that they will die without ever getting to it, but they are not too concerned. These folks are under the impression that the state will take care of everything.
It is true that the state would get involved under these circumstances. If you were to die without executing any estate planning documents at all, the situation would be called the condition of intestacy. The probate court would appoint a personal representative to act as the administrator, and this court would supervise the proceedings going forward.
During this process, final debts would be paid out of assets that are part of the estate. The personal representative would subsequently prepare the resources for distribution to the heirs. There are laws on the books regarding intestate succession, and the court would order the distribution using these guidelines.
If these laws were used to determine how your property will be passed on, it is very possible, if not likely, that your own true wishes would not be carried out. This is especially true if you have been happily married for a long time.
Under these laws, if you die with a surviving spouse and children, your spouse would inherit part of your property, and your descendants would be given possession of the rest.
The same rules may apply if you die with a spouse and siblings but no descendants or parents, or a spouse and a parent or parents and no children or siblings.
It is safe to say the most people would not want their spouse to have to share their assets with surviving siblings, and the same thing would probably be true under the other circumstances described above.
There is no reason to allow the state to plan your estate when you can take action in advance to make sure that your assets are distributed in the way that you see fit. It is just too easy to put a last will or a living trust in place to account for postmortem asset transfers.
Your estate plan should also include an incapacity planning component. If you fail to empower representatives to handle your financial and medical decision-making in the event of your incapacitation, the state could once again intervene. The court could be petitioned to appoint a guardian to manage your affairs, you would become a ward of the state.
Take Action Today!
We are here to help if you can recognize the fact action is required after absorbing the information that we have shared in this post. An attorney from our firm would be more than glad to make you feel at home, gain an understanding of your situation, and explain your options to you.
Ultimately, if you decide to go forward, we can help you custom craft a personalized estate plan that ideally suits your needs. To schedule a consultation, give us a call at 606-324-5516 (Ashland, KY), 859-372-6655 (Florence, KY), or 704-944-3245 (Charlotte, NC or Huntersville, NC), and there is a contact form on this website that you can use to send us a message.