There are many reasons why people may not have an estate plan and we’ve heard most of them. The reasons could be that you’ve just procrastinated, maybe you don’t understand what a will or trust really is, or maybe you don’t like to think about death. Many don’t want to “jinx it” or having this conversation just gives you an eerie feeling. You may even be thinking, “I have a life insurance policy with a beneficiary listed. My wife is a joint account holder on my bank accounts. The children will automatically receive everything if I pass on anyway! Everything will be ok.”
While some of these misconceptions may become reality in a perfect world, if any part of ends up imperfect, problems will arise. In the event of your death, everything will not be ok.
Let’s add a bit more context:
I would like to ask you a few questions. If you’re willing, please answer them to the best of your ability with a “yes” or “no”:
- Are there any non-immediate family members that you would like to benefit from your assets after you’re gone?
- Do you have any family members that you wouldn’t want to benefit from your estate?
- Are you a single parent with minor children?
- Do you have specific instructions or wishes for who will receive your various assets when you pass?
- Would you like to prevent the court from determining who will be granted rights and liberties over your estate?
- Would you like to continue giving to your selected charities even after you pass away?
- Would you like to prevent your estate from falling into the wrong hands (for example, an estranged ex-partner, the other parent of your minor child, or a ne’er-do-well family member)?
- Would you like to be protected in the event that you suffer a debilitating disability?
- Do you care about posthumous details, such as your funeral arrangements?
- Do you own a business?
- Do you own investment properties?
- Is it likely that family disputes may arise over your assets after you’re gone?
- Would you like to make sure the public does not have access to your asset, debt, and family information after you’re gone?
- Do you have a child or an intended beneficiary that has a disability that you want to benefit from your estate without jeopardizing governmental support?
- Do you have assets or property outside of your state of residence?
If you’ve answered “yes” to just one of these questions, then you need a plan. If you’ve answered “yes” to more than one of these questions, then you really need a plan.
A properly drafted plan typically determines who will carry out your wishes, who will inherit your assets, how your assets will be received, and who will care for your minor or disabled children. Click To Tweet Many people believe that estate plans are only necessary for the wealthy, but as you can see from the above exercise, nearly everyone needs a plan. An estate plan provides for a smooth transition when you pass. It can prevent your estate from going through a lengthy, costly and public probate process once you are gone or incapacitated. Just imagine: no turmoil, no family feuds, and no clamoring over your assets. You can truly rest in peace!
In the age of access, beware of online legal websites that promise you a will with a simple click of a button. These “services” will likely not only leave out important details pertaining to your estate but in the event of any life changes (because they will occur), they won’t be as agile in amending your will. An online legal service won’t know who you are, what your concerns are, and when to reach back out to you to update your records in the case of estate laws changing or your personal situation changing- it all falls on you. At The TGQ Law Firm, we’re with you every step of the way, through every life change, every question, and every concern.
Life is unpredictable but one thing you can always count on, without a doubt, is that The TGQ Law Firm attorneys and staff will be by your side through it all. Contact us today to discuss your wishes for the future.