Though many people not only ask this question and worry about its answers, according to AARP 60 per cent of the population dies without a will (intestate). No matter whether you are a young adult or a retiree, taking the risk of dying without a will is not a good plan. Understandably, no matter what age we are, we generally try to put the thought of our own mortality out of mind. Nonetheless, we know that death will come to all of us whether we prepare for it or not.
In reality, taking control of our inevitable future is likely to provide relief rather than distress. We all want to provide for those we leave behind, and perhaps for their descendants, so consulting with an astute estate planning attorney may end up being a much more positive experience than you anticipate. In addition, none of us wants to cause family members increased stress when they are already coping with grief and loss. A practical way to show how much you care for those you love is not only to leave them your worldly goods, but to save them from the confusion of legal entanglements at a painful time. The more neatly you are able to tie up loose ends, the easier it will be for them to readjust to life without you.
What exactly does a will accomplish?
A will, or last will and testament, serves several purposes. It not only names those you want to designate as beneficiaries, it also:
What will happen to your accumulated assets if you don’t leave a will?
If you die intestate, the state will determine, according to legally established intestate succession laws,  how and to whom your estate will be distributed and  who will be your personal representative. Instead of your wishes being followed, you estate will be distributed as follows:
If you don’t have any of the relatives listed, the state will distribute your estate to other relatives, whether or not they are emotionally close to you in the following order: siblings, aunts and uncles, cousins, and spouse’s relatives. Finally — and for some people this is the most compelling reason of all to make sure to create a will — if you die intestate and have no living family members, your estate will be absorbed by the state government.
Good Reasons to Consult with a Well-Respected Estate Planning Attorney
Presumably after reading this article so far you have become convinced that consulting an estate planning attorney who is well-schooled in wills and trusts is a good idea. Consider how much power you are relinquishing if you die intestate. For example, suppose one of the following is true:
In all of the above examples, dying intestate makes your wishes irrelevant. Is that what you want to happen? Probably not. Since none of us can predict even the immediate future, the time to contact a competent estate planning attorney and drafting a will is NOW.
If you would like to enjoy all the benefits of a will and avoid probate, then trust planning is an even better option. Contact a qualified estate planning attorney today to start your estate plan.
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