People die without wills all the time, but there are consequences.
No one is going to twist your arm until you give in and draft a will.
Well, your spouse might, but it is ultimately your decision.
Before you celebrate saving a few dollars on the cost of a will, you may want to reconsider.
According to an article in CNBC, titled "Prince or pauper, young or old, here's why you still need a will," there are at least three important reasons to get a will.
When a person dies without a will, they are said to to have "died intestate."
What happens if you die without a will?
The state will decide in a public proceeding who gets what and how much of everything you leave behind that did not have a surviving joint owner, designated beneficiary or was not otherwise arranged to avoid probate (think "revocable living trust).
In short, your money and heirlooms could end up in the hands of someone who should not have them.
You can only avoid this fate by having a valid will to give exact instructions on how you want your assets distributed.
Your estate plan can continue the good you did while you were alive.
You can designate a portion of your assets to pass to the charities and nonprofits you love.
You can even set up a "testamentary trusts" under your will and designate a trustee to oversee the distribution of these funds with instructions on how to do so.
A will benefits your family whether you have minor or adult children. If your children are minors, you must have a will to designate a guardian for them. If your children are adults, having a valid will is much simpler for those you have left behind as they mourn your loss.
I know death and what follows are not pleasant topics to ponder, but with the help of an experienced estate planning attorney, you can protect your loved ones and prolong your legacy.
So, how do you find an "experienced" estate planning attorney?
First, ask around. Friends, family and other professional advisors are trustworthy sources.
Second, conduct an "organic" search on "Google" for "estate planning" near you (e.g., "Estate Planning Anytown MoKan").
Third, either way, verify. Check out the education, experience, ratings and client reviews of any attorney before you contact him or her.
In fact, I use both of these services to thoroughly vett attorneys before referring members of our "client" family for legal help in other areas of law or for matters in jurisdictions outside Kansas or Missouri.
Remember: “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” When making your financial, tax and estate plans, do not go it alone. Be sure to engage competent professional counsel.
For more information about estate planning in Overland Park, KS (and throughout the rest of Kansas and Missouri), visit our estate planning website and be sure to subscribe to our complimentary estate planning e-newsletter while you are there.
Reference: CNBC (May 10, 2016) "Prince or pauper, young or old, here's why you still need a will"