Our demise sometime in the future – which is inevitability -is not something we tend to take into consideration very well, the entire idea is ludicrous to us, this is more true when everything is going smoothly from the workplace to the home. Reality however has the tendency to hit hard – it never knocks on your door before doing so, instead preferring to take everyone by surprise in one giant wave pulling the rug out from under your family. When you die on short notice and with no prior planning (will), your family has more than just emotional loss to make up for. There is the pertinent case of who gets what and how much.
The idea of estate and financial planning is so alien to us that we only tend to hear about it very vaguely in movies and from the passing away of important celebrities who used to possess a lot of wealth. One common misconception that plagues our thoughts is that estate planning is something reserved for the really rich, the millionaires and billionaires with dozens of heirs and lots to fight over – reality however couldn’t be farther from the truth.
We all have children that need to be provided for whether we’re alive or six feet under. When the case tends to be the latter it is our offspring which get struck the harshest from the entire dilemma, more so when they’re young and still in the cradle of their mothers. Who will provide for the child and ensure that their well being is not ill affected by your absence? This answer and more can be easily solved by properly and more seriously approaching estate and financial planning. You need to consider hiring an estate planning attorney in Waxahachie TX.
Tug of war in courts
A costly, long and arduous tug of war usually follows the aftermath of the family breadwinner’s death who hasn’t drafted a proper will (also known as intestate). A will is a written copy of your intentions as to how all your cumulative wealth, real estate property, bond savings and more are to be distributed among your next of kin. When alive, you get to decide who gets what and how much – this tends to prevent long and drawn out court battles that never end well for anyone anyway! Without this will it is up to the probate courts to make these decisions on your behalf.
Think of it this way, the judge, a complete stranger who has no idea of the personal circumstances of your family will get to decide how your wealth is to be distributed. If you have an ex-spouse with a bitter relationship, they might be able to bag some of your hard earned money which you intended to leave behind for your children or perhaps siblings.
Probate courts can take years!
Probate courts can take a very long time, spanning over months and sometimes even years to conclude such sensitive cases. Most of their time is spent collecting as much data as is remotely possible on the decedent’s individual assets and all their possible kin who might stand to gain from their demise. While the courts are all caught up with their indecisions (on account of incomplete information) your legitimate heirs stand to suffer; none of your wealth will be distributed until the court has properly completed their investigations.
Bring in a bit of family drama from your far-off relatives whose intent might be to sink in their teeth into your wealth, and you have all the ingredients needed to give way to a recipe of disaster which is known as probate law.
Think of the well-being of your children
Who will the minors turn to for their proper upbringing in accordance with your code of ethics and values? You don’t want them to turned away to an orphanage where they might spend the rest of their childhood toiling until they reach adulthood – only for them to bitterly peek back into their past and hold you responsible for their comparatively more miserable position.
It is imperative for you to draft a will wherein you can name your chosen guardian who will be responsible for the custody of the child and have the necessary legal paperwork in place to allow them administration of your wealth on their behalf until the child reaches the age of maturity.
It is ideal that the guardian be competent both physically and mentally; not marred by illness and of a strong enough financial background so as not to get tempted by wealth which was intended for your children.
Don’t be vague in your will
Often times people tend to be rather vague in devising their will, providing only minimal detail as to the how the wealth is to be distributed. It’s a very bad idea to leave out crucial details of your beneficiary, such as their last name, their relationship to you and the exact name of the property that they have been entitled to. Suppose you wanted to leave your paternal uncle the silver medal you won in high school, the best way to devise the statement would be, “I leave my paternal uncle George the silver medal I won in high school,” instead of the rather vague phrase, “I leave my paternal uncle my medal.”
This process will inadvertently save the courts and your family a lot of precious time.
Every state has their own way of dealing with assets and not all of them can be passed over to your relatives. They do not pass through the cumbersome probate process; such assets include your pension plan, insurance policy retirement plans and IRAs. It is also pertinent to note that you should have a consistent policy on distributing wealth to your kin. For example if you bequeathed your rare collection of jars to your cousin in a separate policy, don’t name it to your uncle in your will.
As novices we tend to not notice such discrepancies and can’t be bothered with the proper paperwork. This necessitates hiring a professional estate planning attorney to ensure that your wealth does not undergo troublesome distribution after your passing.
Safeguard your privacy
When you don’t have a will in place, courts tend to seek out the information from all nooks and crannies which exposes your private assets, wealth and other business interests to the rest of the world. Imagine someone you hated browsing through your private records after you have passed away. Every item that the courts dig out becomes public for the entire world to see. This can be more than just a privacy concern since your creditors and relatives can (and often will) extract information which could allow them to challenge the ownership of your assets.
Probate courts and attorneys can take up a small chunk of your estate’s value to reimburse themselves for the rather costly fees. Again – both time and money is being wasted on something that could have been easily prevented by being just a tad bit thoughtful.
Granting healthcare power of attorney to someone you trust
It isn’t just death that you need to fortify your wealth from but also the case when you get incapacitated, perhaps by mental or physical weakness. Who will get to make important healthcare decisions on your behalf when you have become incapacitated? This aspect of estate planning is something you get to decide purely for your own well being; you don’t want someone completely unfamiliar with you to be making critical health decisions for you in a nursing home. Protect yourself from getting discarded under the mercy of someone who doesn’t really care for you on a personal level.
The obvious conclusion
The importance of drafting a will when they’re healthy and well should become clear to the reader. To facilitate the proper paperwork free from legal complications it is advisable to hire a professional estate planning attorney in Waxahachie TX. So, when the time comes, your family isn’t left in financial turmoil and can mourn your passing in peace.