Estate planning is increasingly becoming important. Research still shows, however, that many Americans die without drafting an estate plan. An estate lists all the assets, property and interests that you control. This could be in a form of licenses, leases or even houses. Stocks, shares, bonds, trusts, insurance and debts are also included in the plan. Having a verified will allows you to choose executors you trust based on your wishes, choose guardians if you have minor children, and list those you would like to benefit from the estate.
What Happens if You Die Without Designating Your Assets?
When you die without a will, the state in which you died will be used to determine the distribution of your assets. Christensen Young & Associates and other legal professionals say that the court decides the formula in which your assets will be distributed. Note that this may not reflect your wishes. Furthermore, your family is likely to pay for court fees and a percentage to a designated grantor.
What is the Difference Between Estate Planning and Drafting a Will?
Creating a will is only a fraction of estate planning. Estate planning is a process in which you organize your affairs to make sure that your wishes are carried on when you die. Hiring an estate planning attorney can help you determine what would happen to your house, your businesses, life insurance, trust entities and everything you have control over. In addition, estate planning takes into consideration a number of contingencies and taxes.
Failure to have an estate plan means that your family will have a difficult time going through the probate process. As there is no will or trust, the court is forced to oversee the entire process. This translates into higher costs and waste of time.
Drafting an estate plan is not only important to your beneficiaries, it also ensures that you choose someone you are comfortable with and trust. Consult an estate planning attorney for any questions you may have regarding estate planning.