By Leia M. Dingott
August is National “Make A Will” month and if you’ve been thinking about creating an estate plan, but still haven’t checked it off your to-do list, now is the perfect time to get it done.
Here are some of the things most likely to happen to you and your loved ones if you fail to create a plan.
- Your family will have to go to court
If you don’t have a plan, or if you only have a will (yes, even with a will), you’re forcing your family to go through probate upon your death. Probate is the legal process for settling your estate, and even if you have a will, it’s notoriously slow, costly, and public. But with no plan at all, probate can be a true nightmare for your loved ones.
- You have no control over who inherits your assets
If you die without a plan, the court will decide who inherits your assets, and this can lead to all sorts of problems. Who is entitled to your property is determined by Arizona’s intestate succession laws, which hinge largely upon whether you are married and if you have children.
Spouses and children are given top priority, followed by your other closest living family members. If you’re single with no children, your assets typically go to your parents and siblings, and then more distant relatives if you have no living parents or siblings. If no living relatives can be located, your assets go to the state.
- You have no control over your medical, financial, or legal decisions in the event of your incapacity
Most people assume estate planning only comes into play when they die, but that’s dead wrong—pun fully intended. Although planning for your eventual death is a big part of the process, it’s just as important—if not more so—to plan for your potential incapacity due to accident or illness.
- You have no control over who will raise your children
If you’re the parent of minor children, the most devastating consequence of having no estate plan is what could happen to your kids in the event of your death or incapacity. Without a plan in place naming legal guardians for your kids, it will be left for a judge to decide who cares for your children. And this could cause major heartbreak not only for your children, but for your entire family.
If you need assistance planning your estate, email email@example.com to determine whether our firm is a good fit for your estate planning needs.