A lot of people think that estate planning is something that is meant for older individuals. But this isn’t the case. Estate planning can benefit people of all ages because it provides security for their financial and healthcare decisions as well as the distribution of their assets. So this begs a question. What happens if you die without a will or any other kind of estate planning documents?
The simple answer is that your estate will be distributed in accordance with state law. This means that your assets might wind up in the hands of someone who you never intended to inherit. The specific way in which your assets are distributed depends on the facts at hand. For example, if you don’t have a spouse but you have children, then your estate will pass to your children. If you have a spouse and one child, though, then your spouse will inherit all of the community property that was acquired during your marriage as well as half of your separately owned assets. Your child would then only inherit half of your separately inherited assets.
Many people are comfortable with their closest loved ones inheriting their assets, but a closer look might highlight that intestate succession isn’t right for you. For example, if you’ve remarried and have children from more than one marriage, then your spouse may inherit the bulk of your estate and then later cut out your children from a previous marriage.
Additionally, estate planning gives you the ability to protect certain assets from the reach of creditors and judgments. This better ensures that those you care about are able to enjoy the assets you leave to them.
There are a lot of reasons why you should create an estate plan that is right for you. Passing away without one could be detrimental to your family, your friends, and everyone else you care about. So, if you think that doing the right is creating a custom-tailored estate plan that is right for you, then you might want to reach out to an estate planning attorney of your choosing.