Only 35 percent of Americans have a will, according to a 2012 survey by FindLaw.com, a legal information Web site. If you die intestate, which is what dying without a valid will is called, your assets could be distributed according to the laws of your state or as the result of a costly court battle.
An recent article in The Washington Post, titled "Put Your Estate Plan On Paper Before It’s Too Late," warns us to stop thinking that everyone knows what we want. Why? Because everybody probably doesn’t know. Even if they do know, in their grief, they might not be able to make the decisions you would have preferred.
Grieving friends and relatives are in no condition to think clearly about "what you would have wanted." It will be hard enough in many instances for them to keep it together and take care of the basics and themselves. If you make the appropriate arrangements and draft the correct documents, you'll take many of those tough decisions out of their hands.
There's no need to be afraid that someone is going to steal from you. If you give into this fear, it can cost you more money to you or even the person handling your affairs. This includes those medical and hospital staff who may one day have to care for you. All their focus should be on your care, rather than refereeing your family drama or serving as a witness to it, which can be very stressful.
All sorts of unnecessary drama can follow your death simply because you didn’t take the time to make proper estate plans or couldn’t figure out somebody you could trust.
The Washington Post article lists some of the essential documents you need to assemble or prepare. These documents include financial statements, insurance policies, retirement and pension information, veterans benefits records, your will, guardianship instructions, and advance medical directives.
Help eliminate or minimize anxiety and frustration, as well as the potential for further conflict that might occur because you didn’t do at least some of the most rudimentary estate planning.
Start putting your affairs in order TODAY: DON'T WAIT! Call us at (916) 440-8036 to make an appointment or visit our website to learn more about estate planning.
Reference: The Washington Post (March 20, 2014) "Put Your Estate Plan On Paper Before It’s Too Late"