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What Can Happen without Proper Estate Documents?

August 3, 2021

If your loved ones are left to figure out the mess of your estate after you’re no longer around to help provide context, that’s not a gift. In fact, it can cause added stress and grief during an already difficult time in their lives. But that’s not the only reason that your estate can cause problems. Skipping an estate plan because you assume your estate is too small, you’re too young, or that the state’s procedures for passing on your assets is “just fine” can all lead to unintended consequences.

One of the biggest reasons for people to skip estate planning is because they are married already and assume that they don’t need additional support. After all, the spouse is legally connected, right? It’s not always as simple as your spouse getting your assets, and there might be situations in which you want to diversify a default plan to give all your assets to a spouse.

 

Estate planning attorneys often are asked what will happen without properly drafted estate planning documents in place. This is a tough question, as the answer relies on the specific circumstances of each individual.

If you’re married, you and your spouse should work together to determine how property will be distributed after you pass away. This includes whether or not any property will go to children after the death of the first spouse and whether or not distributions made to children should be on an equal basis.
If you’re part of a blended family, the planning conversation is even more important. You should never fall for the assumption that property will just go to the surviving spouse right away. Sometimes, the value of the property and the names attached to it might go into a share split between children and a spouse, or even the deceased person’s siblings or parents.

But it’s not just about your assets and how they’ll be handled if you pass away. What about life planning decisions that could be incorporated into a power of attorney? Those are also important. State laws will step in to manage your estate if you haven’t done it, but this will rarely reflect your personal preferences and desires. It’s far smarter to plan ahead with the help of an estate planning lawyer.


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Recent Posts
How Financial Frictions Hinder Innovations

A recent study co-authored by Wharton’s Thomas Winberry reveals that financially constrained firms face a ...

The post How Financial Frictions Hinder Innovations first appeared on Integrated Tax Planning, Legal Planning & Financial Planning.

See more
5 Budgeting Myths That Stop People from Saving

Budgeting is crucial for managing your money well. However, many people avoid it because they ...

The post 5 Budgeting Myths That Stop People from Saving first appeared on Integrated Tax Planning, Legal Planning & Financial Planning.

See more