Developing an estate plan is critical to ensuring your wishes are carried out after your death. Without one, your trusted family members and friends may not know how you intend your assets to be distributed. As a result, the court may have to decide what happens to those assets and who will make decisions on your and your beneficiaries’ behalf.
In addition, without an estate plan:
- Your trusted family members and friends will be forced to go to court to administer your estate, which is an expensive and unnecessary process
- Because you won’t have a will, you will be considered “intestate” at death and any assets you own will be divided according to the rules of “intestacy.” This may mean that if your spouse is alive, he or she may get only a portion of your estate with the remainder being divided between your children, even if those children are minors. It may also mean that the Public Guardian and Trustee will hold property for your children until they are adults
- If you leave an inheritance for your child or grandchild with a disability, it may interrupt or discontinue their eligibility for government income support payments
- Your estate may face income tax and estate administration tax (probate fees), which could have been minimized or avoided
- The court may appoint a guardian for minor children. If you and your spouse have not made legal provisions for someone to care for your minor children and manage their inheritance, it will be up to the courts to name a guardian. The person named may not be the person you would have appointed to take care of your children
For more information or to make an appointment to discuss your estate planning needs, contact PooranLaw today.