It’s August … do you have a will?
August is traditionally when we go on vacation, start buying back-to-school supplies, and generally try to avoid the heat, so writing a will and putting your financial affairs in order may be the last thing on your mind. If you’re not comfortable with the idea of sitting down and writing a will, and you haven’t done so, you’re not alone. Statistically speaking more than half of all Americans die without having a will in place. For some, it’s simply a matter of procrastination. Others believe that having a will is only necessary for those who have a lot of money, while still others may have been pushed to take care of their estate planning needs but have pushed back because they are just not comfortable with the mere idea of discussing death or what happens when they die.
Unfortunately, death is unavoidable for all of us, and those who die without a will in place end up making things much more challenging for those who they leave behind. Whether you have accumulated great wealth or have modest means, not having a will in place cheats you of the opportunity to have a say in what happens to the assets and belongings that you have spent your lifetime accumulating and saving. If you do not currently have a will, setting one is up is a painless process that is made easier with the help of an experienced attorney. The lawyers at Bratton Scott have the knowledge and compassion you can trust to make sure that all of the important issues of your estate are addressed.
Do you know what happens when a person dies without a will?
When a person dies without a will it is called being “intestate”, and depending upon what state you were a resident of, different things can happen. One of the advantages of having a will is that it spells out who you want to be in charge of the distribution of your assets. Without having identified this person, the state will make the determination for you. This may be your surviving spouse or partner, or it may be your adult children. The state will also make the decision as to who gets what of your possessions, and that may not be in keeping with what you would have chosen. There are also likely to be tax ramifications for your heirs that put them in a worse position than would have been the case if you had taken the time to make a will. Perhaps more importantly, if you die without a will in place and you have no surviving relatives, it is more likely than not that the state will simply take all of your assets. This means that rather than having your assets go to a friend, or caregiver, or even a charity that is meaningful to you, they simply go into the treasury, and you will have robbed yourself of leaving the legacy that you could have.
Making a will does not take much time and, once done, will give you the peace of mind of knowing that you have taken control of how your assets will be treated after you are gone. To set up an appointment to take care of this important task, contact the professionals at Bratton Scott today.