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Do you have an estate plan in place? The importance of estate planning can often be overlooked. Many people dismiss it as too costly or declare they do not have enough assets for it to be a concern of theirs. In more unfortunate situations, people do not take into consideration the possibility of their passing at a young age. Without an estate plan, your estate may be headed for probate after your passing, an often lengthy and expensive process. Let us take a look at three reasons you need a Last Will and Testament.

  1. If you die without a will or trust in place, it is called dying intestate. When a person dies intestate, his or her family members will likely need to go through the probate process to distribute his or her assets, which are subject to probate. These assets may include real estate, cars, bank accounts, jewelry, art, and other family heirlooms. The court decides who gets what based upon the state’s intestacy laws, and it may not be what the decedent would have wanted. A Last Will and Testament can set forth exactly who you want each of your assets left to. The estate of a person who dies with a Last Will and Testament must still go through the probate process, but it can be less time consuming and costly. If you wish to keep your estate completely out of probate, a trust may be a good option.
  2. If you were to die intestate with minor children, it may be up to a judge, who does not necessarily know your children, to designate their legal guardian. Having at least a Last Will and Testament in place, which names the person you wish to become the legal guardian of your children, in the event of the unthinkable, can be extremely important.
  3. While one of the primary reasons cited for not creating a Last Will and Testament often is the cost of an attorney, most people never take into consideration the cost of the probate process. This can include court fees, appraisal and evaluation fees, executor fees, and attorney fees. With a valid Last Will and Testament in place, the probate process can be  more streamlined and may not be as costly as probating the estate of a person who has died intestate. Again, a trust may be another option to bypass the probate process.

Our office can assist you in putting a Last Will and Testament in place and helping you learn about other valuable estate planning options. Contact us today to schedule an appointment.