Have you ever wondered what is the worst that can happen if you become incapacitated or pass away without an estate plan in place?
If you have, you’re not alone. This is actually a common question our clients ask us, especially from those in close-knit families who believe that their kids (or other loved ones), can just automatically step in and peacefully sort everything out when they pass away without needing any additional legal documents or guardrails in place. In fact, many people mistakenly believe that “my spouse or kids can just step in and take care of things” or that everything “just goes to their family”.
Failing to Plan Makes Life Harder for The People You Love
The truth of the matter is that without a plan (or with the wrong plan) you make things much harder for the people you care about, even if everything goes as smoothly as possible and everyone gets along. Managing your affairs will also become much more costly and more time-consuming than it needs to be if something happens.
You May Not Like The “Default Plan” The Government Already Has for You and Your Family
Remember, you are not obligated to create an estate plan; as long as you like the one the government provides for you, your family, your home, and your life savings. Let me ask you a question: “Do you think the government’s plan is going to be the least expensive option for your family, the one that saves the most in taxes, takes the least amount of time, keeps your family out of the courts, keeps everything private, and is the least likely to cause family disputes?” I think you know the answer to that. The only way to override the state’s plan is to legally create one of your own.
What If You Are Disabled or Incapacitated?
If a crisis happens during your lifetime and you don’t have a plan, you run the risk of losing flexibility, and you may even lose control. Even if your loved ones want to help if you get sick or become incapacitated, they could be barred from getting involved with your affairs because of privacy or HIPAA laws. If that happens, all decisions about your care and your future will be made by a judge who doesn’t know you or what is important to you. And, once a court gets involved in your family life, finances, and affairs, the court stays involved until you either regain capacity or pass away. That means ongoing legal fees, court costs, and stress for your family.
Make Planning a Priority to Protect Your Family, Your Wishes, and Your Assets
The bottom line is that an estate plan is a roadmap that’s designed to keep the government and the courts out of your and your family’s affairs and to make it as easy and inexpensive as possible for yourself and your loved ones in the event of illness, incapacity, or death. It’s one of the most loving gifts you can give them. If this article has caused you to rethink your choice of going with the government’s plan for your affairs, we are here to help you.
If you would like to discover how to make it as easy and inexpensive as possible to preserve, protect, and pass on your home and life savings while keeping the government out of your and your family’s affairs, contact us to schedule a consultation, so we can discuss your concerns.
This article is a service of Stafford Law Firm. We do not just draft documents; we ensure you make informed and empowered decisions about life and death, for yourself and the people you love.