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The Consequences of Not Having an Estate Plan & Why You Should Create Yours Now

Jan. 6, 2022

The Consequences of Not Having an Estate Plan & Why You Should Create Yours Now

There are several different excuses people create when it comes to putting off estate planning. Some may put it off because they feel too young or do not think they are wealthy enough. Some do not feel as if they will care about what happens to their assets because they will be dead, and their family will know what to do. These thoughts all come from a lack of knowledge about estate planning. There are serious consequences of lacking an estate plan. Having an estate plan will not only ensure your assets are distributed properly to your desires but will also keep your loved ones away from unnecessary hardship in the future. Your family and loved ones will already be grieving your death, with an estate plan you can save them a lot of money, stress, and complications. Here are four major inconveniences you and your loved ones will more than likely go through should you choose to skip out on an estate plan.

1. Your Family Has to Go to Court

Without an estate plan, even if you only have a will, your family will still have to attend court. They will have to go through probate once you pass away. Probate is a court process that can tend to be expensive, slow, and public. It is important to consider the fact that your loved ones will be going through the brutal probate process while still grieving your death. Keep in mind that court proceedings are open to public knowledge which means that your family would be unable to handle this in an intimate matter. This can all be avoided with proper estate planning. If you choose to include a living trust in your estate plan, that will guarantee that your assets will go directly to your chosen loved ones without any need for probate. The distribution of your assets could be held in the privacy of our office and on your family’s own time.

2. You Will Not Have a Choice Who Inherits Your Assets

If you pass away and did not have a plan in place, the court will decide who inherits your assets. This is typically based on your state’s interstate succession laws which, in most cases, depends on whether you are married and have children or not. Spouses and children are given the top priority and then closest family members follow. If you are single without children, your assets would most likely go to your parents or siblings. If you have no living relatives, your assets will go to the state.

With an estate plan you have the full control to choose who inherits your assets rather than the choice being fully up to a judge. This is especially important to note if you want someone outside of your blood relatives to inherit some or all your assets. Having a judge appoint family members to inherit your assets and/or to oversee your medical decisions (in the case that you become incapacitated) can also cause a great deal of conflict between your family members. It can be easy to think that your family will overcome any major conflicts regarding your death or incapacitation, however we have seen families tear apart due to the high stress and emotion that plays in this process. Creating an estate plan will guarantee a smoother process for your loved ones after you die or become incapacitated.

3. If Incapacitated, You Will Lose Control Over Your Major Life Decisions

We highly recommend planning not only for your eventual death but also for the possibility of your incapacity. This is something no one can predict however it is safer to assume this would happen in order to save you and your loved one’s stress and costs. In the event that you do not have an estate plan, but you do become incapacitated, you will have zero control over all major life decisions: financial, medical, and legal. Your family would have to petition the court to appoint a guardian or conservator to manage your affairs. This can be a very long, expensive, and traumatic process for your loved ones to go through depending on who the court appoints.

North County Legal can help you set up an official plan that grants the person of your choice the authority to make your financial, medical, and legal decisions right away. We can also provide detailed and specific strategies to ensure your medical care and life decisions will be properly taken care of. This is all not possible with solely a will or no estate plan at all.

4. You Will Not Get to Choose Who Raises Your Children

This could be the most crucial reason to create an estate plan. The absence of a plan as a parent of minor children could be detrimental to your children. A judge is required to appoint a legal guardian to gain custody of your children. Since this major decision is solely up to the judge, the decision can have severe consequences for your family and, more importantly, children. If several family members want to care for your children, this could cause messy custody battles in court. This could have devastating damage to your children’s emotions on top of them grieving your passing. Overall, it is best to create your estate plan now to fully avoid this potential catastrophe. We recommend that your priority in estate planning should be appointing legal guardians to care for your children. Here at North County Legal, we have a Kids Protection Plan that could guide you through the process of appointing a legal guardian in case something happens to you, ensuring that they would be safe and properly taken care of.

Get Started Now.

Now is the time to begin creating your estate plan, there is no time to waste given the potential consequences for you and your loved ones. At North County Legal we can guide you through, step-by-step, in creating your estate plan, ensuring full protection for you and your family. Contact us to schedule an appointment and get started today.