Many people consider estate planning something that only wealthy or older individuals do. But the fact is, estate planning is beneficial – and affordable – for everyone. Not having an estate plan in place can cause financial and emotional hardship for your family down the road. For many reasons, it’s quite risky not to have an estate plan in place.
Risks of Not Having an Estate Plan
No Control Over How Assets are Distributed Upon Death
When a loved one passes away, it is a deeply emotional time for the family. What could make matters worse is if there is no clear plan on how to distribute assets. Without a will or trust, the assets are considered intestate, and items will be given out according to the state’s law. This could result in someone that should clearly receive something not getting anything and others that are less emotionally tied to items receiving them.
The lack of an estate plan also opens up the possibility of an ugly family dispute when someone passes away. Often there is a feeling of entitlement to the property with more than one member of the family and no clear way for it to be divided fairly. The resulting decision is doomed to be perceived poorly and could lead to resentment among family members – which can make the emotional toll much worse.
No Control Over Medical and Financial Decisions if Incapacitated
An estate plan doesn’t just cover someone’s family in the event of their death. It also details out how to handle situations if the person becomes unable to make their own decisions.
With no plan in place, someone could petition the court to control assets and make decisions for you that wouldn’t be in your best interest. The result of this could be disastrous for your health and finances.
An estate plan allows you to select the representatives you want, ensuring that you will be in good hands if you become incapacitated. This becomes even more critical in end-of-life situations.
No Control Over The Fate of Children
Ensuring the safe fate of your children should be reason alone to set up an estate plan. In the event something happens to you and your spouse, the fate of your minor children, would be up to the courts if you don’t have an estate plan in place. Part of the estate planning process is creating documentation that allows you to choose who would raise your children if something were to happen.
In addition, an estate plan also helps protect the inheritance of children should something happen to you before they are old enough to maintain it themselves properly. Creditors and other entities could get involved in the inheritance that is supposed to be theirs if something isn’t in a place that separates it.
No Way to Avoid Probate
With no estate plan in place, any estate valued at more than $50,000 in Wisconsin will have to go through the probate process. This is often a lengthy and expensive process, which is supposed to be limited at 18 months but may be extended if necessary. Often, disputes over assets will prolong the process and require the courts to be involved with no estate plan and revocable trust in place.
By getting a revocable trust as part of an estate plan, you can avoid the probate process and associated fees that go along with it. This means that family members can move on from the financial burden and deal with the important aspects of family during the time of loss.
If you have questions about the estate planning process, and are interested in getting the process started, don’t hesitate to contact Collins Law Firm by calling 414-207-6292 or filling out our online form.