If you are like most Americans, your reluctance to create an estate plan means that your family will have to rely on the laws of your state when it comes time to distribute your assets after you die. But remaining silent in estate planning has implications beyond simply who gets to choose who inherits your property. Let’s take a look at three ways not having an estate plan, or remaining silent about estate planning choices, can be harmful.
Your Property Goes to Whom Your State Chooses
If you are married and don’t have any kids, your spouse will inherit your entire estate even if you want to leave something to your parents, siblings, or anyone else. The fact is, if you don’t create an estate plan your state’s laws of intestacy have already chosen who inherits your property regardless of what you want. Similar rules exist regardless of your marital situation or if you have children.
Your Estate Will Lose Money
Estate plans are also very practical because they allow your estate to save money. If you don’t have a plan your entire estate will have to pass through probate, a legal process which can last several months or more and take up a lot of money in attorney’s fees and other costs. You can create an estate plan which avoids probate, but you cannot do it by doing nothing.
Your Medical Choices Fall to Someone Else
If you become incapacitated and need medical care, not having an estate plan means you have no choice in the kind of care you receive. It may also mean that a court will have to choose who gets to make these decisions. Even the simplest court process can involve significant court fees and costs, further impacting your estate.