After working a number of years, perhaps to buy a home, a vehicle, send your kids to a good school or any number of other worthwhile goals, it’s understandable that you would want to protect the assets that you worked so hard to acquire. As you get older, it’s also likely that, at some point, you might begin thinking about future generations and the legacy you’d like to leave behind. Do you need an estate plan?
Some people might say it is not necessary to execute an estate plan. Others, especially those with first-hand experience, say that not having an estate plan, or, at least, not having a will, can have far-reaching and unpleasant repercussions. It is worth exploring the topic to determine what exactly might happen if you do not have an estate plan in place when you die.
You will have no control over who gets your assets
One of the most significant repercussions of not executing an estate plan, particularly one that includes a last will and testament, is that you will have no say so regarding who inherits your assets. A probate court judge will decide. Therefore, if you have funds set aside or a specific asset, such as a vacation cabin in the woods, that you would like a particular person to have when you die, there is no guarantee that will happen if you did not sign a will.
Estate plans are beneficial for those who are still alive
Another downside of not having an estate plan is that you will have no way of granting someone power of attorney to make decisions on your behalf if you become incapacitated. This goes for health care decisions and financial issues, alike. By executing an estate plan while you are of sound mind, you can prepare for the unexpected, in a sense, by designating someone you trust to act on your behalf if you are no longer able to do so.
Do you own your own business?
Not having an estate plan, which includes a business succession plan, can leave a business high and dry after the owner dies. By signing certain legal documents, you can state, in writing, exactly what you would like to happen to your business after you die.
Who should own it? Who will manage it? Should it be sold? You can address all of these issues, and more, in a well-written estate plan. It leaves less room for confusion or disputes among family members if you have a succession plan in place before you die. Overall, there are many reasons to execute an estate plan and also many reasons to avoid dying without one.