If you don’t have a living trust and you don’t have a will, the laws of your state determine how your assets are distributed. Unfortunately, millions of people don’t have wills and never think about the consequences their families will face when they pass away
Problems | Wills Lawyer in Cary NC
Most people have some sort of assets that will be left to someone when they die, even if it’s just a car or a small savings account. Wouldn’t you want the person you choose to get that beloved Mustang or the $1000 you tucked away?
If you have a larger estate and own a home, have retirement savings and investments, wouldn’t you want the people you choose to get them so that they can be taken care of when you are gone?
If you don’t outline your wishes in a will, you will have no say in what happens to your estate when you pass away. Your family will have difficulty giving their input, too, which will create a stressful situation for them during an already difficult time.
Each state has laws that outline what happens to the estate of the deceased. In most cases, the closest relative – the spouse, children or parents – are named heirs of the property. If there are no relatives found, then the state can end up owning it.
There are several scenarios where not having a will can cause problems after your death. Here are a few:
- You have a long-time companion but aren’t legally married.
If you have a companion or partner that you want to receive your assets when you die, but you are not legally married, he or she is not acknowledged as a close relative according to the courts. A will can protect your companion and ensure that he or she receives the inheritance you want.
- You are separated but not divorced.
Your ex could make claims to your estate when you pass away. If you are not legally divorced, his or her claims could hold up in court. In some states, a spouse will receive everything due to property laws.
- You have children under 18.
If you have children under 18 and die without a will naming guardianship, then the state may become involved. In most cases the children’s other parent will retain guardianship, but should both of you pass away, the courts will decide where the children will go.
- You have certain preferences for your burial.
If you want a certain type of arrangement for your burial, such as being cremated or buried in a specific area, a will can leave those instructions to your family. Otherwise, unless you have talked with someone about it before, your family will make those decisions.
There are other situations that can arise from not having a will. If you don’t want to leave all of the decisions regarding your estate, children and other issues up to your surviving family, creating a will can ensure your wishes will be followed and your family won’t have to make those difficult decisions.
Klish and Eldreth | Wills Lawyer in Raleigh NC
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