Don't have an estate plan?
No one can force you to engage in estate planning, but without a proper estate plan, you are putting yourself and loved ones in more jeopardy than necessary. Here are seven real risks that can arise when you do not have a plan.
- Take away your control of how your estate is distributed. The State of California will decide how it’s to be distributed. Every state has laws of succession that dictate how your property and assets are divided upon death if you do not have a will or other estate planning tool such as a living trust.
- Take away control of who will manage your affairs once you have passed. When there is no will, or trust, the court appoints a personal representative, known or unknown to you, to manage your estate. Do not assume your family will just sort out your affairs without any conflicts or turmoil. Conflicts can largely be avoided by putting together a proper estate plan. It is just not worth the risk, or your legacy.
- The court will choose your children’s guardian. Choosing a potential guardian for your own children is a tough, emotional decision to make. But if you do not, a judge will. Will that judge know and understand all of your children’s needs like you do? By completing a will, or trust, your choice is known.
- The court will manage your children’s money. Life insurance and retirement benefits, along with the rest of your estate, cannot go directly to your children. In California and in most states, the executor will have to put that money into a special account that requires court permission to access. The court will not award the estate to minor children until they turn 18. Even the guardian may not be able to access any of that money without the court’s approval. However, with a trust, the trustee is completely in charge and does not have to ask permission from the court when choosing how to best use the estate to support the children.
- Your assets end up in the wrong hands. If you have an extravagant child, or a spouse or child with special needs, there are steps you must take to ensure assets do not end up in the wrong hands (creditors, government, bankruptcy court, etc.).
- Increase the scrutiny of your estate. The administration of your estate may be subject to greater court supervision due to the probate process.
- Make public your private matters. Probate is a public matter to begin with. Estate planning can place assets outside probate and thus keep your estate private.
Don’t place you and your loved ones in jeopardy. Fill out the form at the right and we will contact you to schedule an appointment to create a comprehensive estate plan.