If you are like me, then you have seen a lot of articles of late in the financial press regarding estate planning. Perhaps you do not feel like you have an "estate" to pass on.
Still, the question remains: have you prepared your estate plan ... at least a last will and testament?
In fact, this question was posed in a recent Forbes article titled "Do I Really Need a Will?"
The article recommends that you have a will.
If for no other reason, a will is required to at least designate an executor or executrix to administer your estate.
This executor or executrix will be responsible for taking care of your affairs after you pass away. Without a will, the probate court will appoint an administrator—this could end up being almost anyone. Anyone with a decent reason has the ability to petition the court to be appointed, to include relatives and creditors.
Appoint the executor you want in your will.
The executor or court-appointed administrator will identify and gather your estate assets, pay off any outstanding debts or taxes owed by you, and distribute the remaining assets to those designated as beneficiaries.
If you do not have a will when you pass away, the probate court in your state of residence will decide who gets the assets in your probate estate through state intestacy laws. Typically the assets pass to the immediate family first (spouse, children or parents). However, if you are single with no children or surviving parents, the state will distribute your assets to your remaining relatives.
If you have no qualifying relatives (i.e., by degree of blood relationships), then your estate may pass (“escheat”) to your State or Commonwealth.
Do really want to risk having your estate pass to the government?
That alone should be motivation enough to contact your estate planning attorney and get that will executed without delay!
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) and to download free tools to help you organize your estate, visit my estate planning website.
Reference: Forbes (August 19, 2014) "Do I Really Need a Will?"