It’s completely natural to avoid thinking about the “worst possible scenarios.” This is often why people avoid completing their estate plans. It can be much more comforting to think that you are young, healthy, and your estate plan can wait until you are older.
Unfortunately, waiting to complete your estate plan can lead to more “worst possible scenarios,” not for you, but for your family. If you don’t have your own estate planning documents drafted, then you have left your family completely unprepared should something catastrophic happen to you.
Without at least a Last Will and Testament, your assets are often not protected. There will be no direction as to what happens to your property, financial assets, or other possessions. For some assets, if you are married, they may pass directly to your spouse. Or, if you already own an asset with someone, that may also directly pass to them. However, absent owning your assets jointly, without a Will, many things from your estate may need to pass through probate. If someone dies “intestate,” i.e. without a Will, the probate process may be lengthy, and, sometimes individuals fight over whom should receive what from a loved one’s estate. Sometimes, this could also potentially lead to a heavy financial burden for your family as well.
A Will may not be the only document you need to make sure your family is prepared and protected. For instance, if you happen to be involved in an accident where you are left significantly impaired and unable to make your own decisions, you may have to go through a conservatorship process if you had not already appointed a conservator in the event that you were to become impaired, or, if you did not at least already appoint an agent-in-fact through a power of attorney document.
Your family members could also be financially impacted if they don’t have the ability to access your accounts which are used to regularly pay the household expenses. Sometimes, it is helpful to have one joint bank account with someone you trust, or a “payable on death” bank account so that if you were to pass away, the funds would immediately be available to the other person to take care of your final expenses.
Are you and your family prepared? Let Wolf & Shore Law Group help you create your estate plan. We would be happy to sit down with you for a confidential consultation, and go over your needs. We can be contacted here, 203.745.3151, or firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also schedule a call back from our Client Intake Specialist at a time that is convenient for you here.