Unfortunately, we will all die one day. When we do, our assets and debts will be disposed of one way or another. However, if we die without having provided a will, the process will be lengthier and more difficult. You may increase the chances that your family will get into a dispute. An estate planning lawyer can help you prepare a will so this doesn’t happen.
The Probate Process Becomes More Complicated
When a person dies without a will or trust, the probate court must go through a similar process as if you had a will. Unfortunately, they and your survivors must work through this process without any formal written instructions from you. Rather than an executor of your estate who had already agreed to act on your behalf, the probate court must find an administrator. This may or may not be a friend or family member.
Whether you have a will or not, the debts you have must be settled, and only then can the court distribute your remaining assets to your family. An executor named by you will be more likely to act in your estate’s best interests and settle debts in the most favorable way to your estate and its heirs.
If you have created a valid will with the help of an estate planning lawyer, the court will very likely follow your wishes. Those friends and family members that you wanted to benefit will be most likely to receive what you wanted them to receive. Without a will, the probate court must follow a formula, usually set by state law, to divide your remaining assets among family members.
Your Heirs Are More Likely to Get Into a Dispute
You may not believe that you own much of value, or you may not believe that your family or friends would fight each other over what you have. But time and again, families become locked in legal battles over conflicting beliefs about what they should inherit. Often there are assumptions that creep in over time that may be false. An ex-spouse who has continued to live in a second home may assume they should inherit it. Even sentimental items of small monetary value can take on outsized importance. Avoid these problems with a will that addresses any issues like this.
Fortunately, you can avoid these potential problems by creating a will. An estate planning lawyer in Allentown, PA can guide you through the process of setting up a will which is valid, enforceable, and makes your wishes known.
Thanks to Klenk Law for their insight into estate law and what happens when you die without a will.