During Make-a-Will Month, Consider the Consequences of NOT having an Estate Plan
A 2015 survey concludes that 64% of Americans do not have a will. As an estate planning attorney, that is not surprising, but it is very concerning. I still run into people all the time who think that they don’t need an estate plan, because they are “too poor,” “too young,” or because they think “everything will go to my spouse when I die anyway.”
These are major misconceptions. If you do not have an estate plan, your property will pass according to state law upon your death. Is that something you want to trust to politicians? If so, it will probably result in serious unintended consequences.
Think about the following scenarios:
- An unmarried couple have been together for 20 years. Man passes away without a will. Woman is then evicted from her home because she is not entitled to inherit from man despite their long-term relationship.
- Husband and Wife have one child, who is estranged, and has a drug problem. Husband passes away. Without a will, child is entitled to inherit a significant part of Husband’s estate, and Wife must sell real estate or other assets to make this happen.
- A young couple die tragically in a car accident. Without a will, a court will have to decide what happens to their young children, which could lead to a heated dispute between surviving family members.
- An elderly widower is unable to handle is financial affairs any longer. A trusted caretaker manages to convince widower to give her substantial amounts of cash. By the time his family finds out, the money is long gone, and there is not enough left to provide for his care.
These are just a few of the situations that can arise without proper planning.
I get it! We all procrastinate when it comes to difficult topics. And thinking about our inevitable death is not the easiest thing to do.
I promise though, once you have signed your Wills, Powers of Attorney, or other estate plan documents, you will feel a sense of relief. Let National Make-a-Will month be your motivation to call an attorney and start the process today.