An alarming issue that many families currently face is the misconception of labeling estate planning as a rich people problem. And because of the lack of preparation and planning, beneficiaries bear the unfortunate consequences of overlooking something significant.
To make matters worse, the challenges that arise come in different forms and take an unnecessarily long time to resolve. And to give you a basic understanding of what’s to happen, here are some of the negative impacts:
You Don’t Get A Say
If and when your time does come, and you’ve left no estate plan whatsoever, you won’t get a say in how the court rules, divides, and gives away all of your assets. The court will follow intestacy laws on the probate of your possessions, which means there is a big chance that your belongings go to people you never intended. Take, for example, a divorced spouse whom you have no plans of giving away your assets.
Furthermore, probates can take an exceedingly long time to process, which means beneficiaries won’t have immediate access to funds to meet any due expenses on your behalf.
Your Beneficiaries Suffer
Another negative impact of the lack of estate planning is that it can cause in-fighting among your beneficiaries, debating who gets what from your assets. It causes a considerable family mess and might break bonds that should be working together during such an emotional time instead of fighting.
On top of that, your beneficiaries will also have to pay probate fees, expenses, and other obligations that would’ve been quickly answered if you had planned earlier.
What Can You Do?
If you can afford the spare time, then we strongly urge you to take the opportunity and begin planning early in case anything unexpected were to happen. This saves your beneficiaries from going through so much trouble and grants you peace of mind knowing that your future is safe and accounted for.
#1 Plan Ahead
Firstly, you must prepare the necessary documents to outline your wishes on how your possessions and assets will be distributed among your beneficiaries. Likewise, you’ll also need to prepare any relevant documents that will state what you want to happen if you are incapacitated or unable to make decisions.
- Will And Testament: At the core of your estate plan is your will and testament. This will inform the court not to distribute your assets according to intestacy laws, but instead according to your wishes.
- Trust: A living trust will spare your beneficiaries the trouble of waiting a long time. This appoints a trustee to manage and distribute your estate should you become incapacitated or pass away and save on unnecessary expensive probate costs.
- Advance Healthcare Directive: Also known as a medical directive, this document will specifically outline what medical care you wish to receive if you cannot decide on your own. This prevents family, loved ones, and medical professionals from arguing and unneeded confusion.
#2 Ask Help From A Professional
Of course, before finalizing on any of the documents you’ve prepared, don’t shy away from the help of an experienced trust lawyer and estate planning professional to review and guide you. The last thing you’ll want to happen is for your papers to be misunderstood and taken the wrong way. A professional can help clarify anything you don’t understand and offer advice to make the distribution of your assets happen smoothly.
No One Is Exempt From The Unexpected
When it comes to the unexpected, everyone is equal, and no one can predict the inevitable. Anything can happen to anyone, and that reason alone is what makes estate planning necessary for everyone to do. So save yourself and your family the trouble of arguing in the future and plan.