Why Is A Good Estate Plan So Important?
We often discuss or write about how important it is to do the right things, and to plan ahead when it comes to an estate plan. But what’s the harm in not having an estate plan? What could go wrong, if you ignore your estate plan, or you do one that’s not comprehensive or cover all of your assets?
The benefits of having a complete estate plan are not only legal, but practical, and human. That’s why you want a good estate plan.
Less Fighting Amongst Loved Ones
The lack of an estate plan leaves your property and assets open to fighting between family members. And if there’s one thing that most of us don’t want to think about when we’re gone, it’s the thought of our family members fighting with each other over our property.
Additionally, we want to know that loved ones that we want to make sure are taken care of, are in fact taken care of. Nobody wants to know that they could have taken care of a family member financially, but that didn’t happen, because of an incomplete estate plan.
Legally, even if there is no fighting amongst relatives, an estate with no estate plan is more likely to need to go through the probate process. This means that a court gets involved, which means that attorneys have to be hired and paid—that’s your money that your loved ones aren’t getting.
Of course, the worst case scenario is a contested estate—relatives fighting over who gets what, or who was supposed to get what from your estate. A contested estate is just like any other kind of litigation, with lawyers, hearings, discovery of evidence and depositions—as well as the time and hostility that so often arises from that kind of litigation.
The attorneys fees that are spent defending your estate plan (or lack thereof), is money that your relatives are indirectly paying, because it’s money that they would have gotten from your estate but which they now are now not getting. Additionally, all distributions in your estate may be held up, waiting for the outcome of the contested litigation.
Lawsuits are also public. Whereas a good estate plan is largely private, now your assets and belongings, and even, possibly, your medical records (if your mental capacity is at issue) will be put into the public records.
The Court ends up in almost every detail of the estate. For example, if there is a house to sell, what will the sale price be? Who will the realtor be? Where will the sale proceeds go? These are all matters that your relatives will fight about, and ultimately, that a judge will have to decide.
Be prepared, and help your family and loved ones when you are gone. Call the Torrance will attorneys at Samuel Ford Law today to start your estate plan.