Not having an estate plan means you do have a plan, a plan that could leave your loved ones potentially with nothing. It’s estimated that 50-60% of Americans don’t have a Will and with over half of the country living without a proper estate plan, that means there’s a lot of relatives and friends who will be left with big messes to clean up. Many people may think they don’t “qualify” to have an estate plan, but this couldn’t be further from the truth. Not having an estate plan can be a dangerous plan.
Not Having an Estate Plan Can Be a Dangerous Plan
There’s countless benefits to having an estate plan, but one of the main reasons to have one is so your affairs remain private and your loved ones can avoid the probate process. Probate is the court-supervised process of collecting a decedent’s (person who has died) assets, notifying legitimate creditors of the death, settling claims, and distributing the remaining assets to heirs or to those designated in a will. Probate can be complicated, time consuming, and very costly, which would just cut into any potential inheritances that your loved ones may receive from your estate. There are also tax implications to think about and potentially having your assets handed to someone that you wouldn’t have chosen yourself.
Aside from financial aspects of an estate plan, there’s also your healthcare and medical decisions to consider. If you were to get into an accident and weren’t able to make decisions for yourself, what would happen? With an estate plan you can name the people you would want in charge of your medical care and also list what your wishes for your medical decisions would be. Not having these decisions documented could mean your care may be determined by medical providers you may not know and that your family may be left out of important decisions or not be able to get any information at all on your condition.
It can be difficult to think about these situations, both the end of your life and any potential accidents that would leave you impaired. Having an estate plan can give you peace of mind that your affairs would be handled in the way you want and by the people you want. Don’t let the process overwhelm you and consult with a professional ASAP. If you are in Illinois or Wisconsin we can help you! Contact us with questions or to learn how to get started.
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Disclaimer: This article is intended to serve as a general summary of the issues outlined therein. While this article may include general guidance, it is not intended as, nor is a substitute for, qualified legal advice. Your review or receipt of this article by Lexern Law Offices, Ltd. (the “LLG”) or any of its attorneys does not create an attorney-client relationship between you and the LLG. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors of the article and does not reflect the opinion of the LLG.