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Understanding the Consequences of Not Having a Will or Trust

February 27, 2012 | Comments: 0 | Views: 189

The most important thing you will do in your whole life is to protect your family after your death with a will or trust. If you have no interest in what happens to your money or assets after you die then you can stop reading now. Many people feel they are healthy, and that nothing is ever going to happen to them so they don't need to bother with having a will or trust. If you got into a car accident or fell into a coma tomorrow it will be too late to ensure the future care of your loved ones. It will be terribly difficult during bereavement for your loved ones to deal with your estate without a will or trust. You can save them time, trouble, arguments, expenses, and delays by having one.

Let's go into this in a little bit more detail about what a will and trust are, and how they are different. A will is a written instrument that provides for the disposition of your property after your death. Where a trust does the same thing; however, a trust also manages your property during your life. There are some misconceptions about who should have a will or trust. It is thought that only the elderly or wealthy should have one. If you own a home, a car, have a checking or savings account then you have an estate. Often, a person with a small or modest estate is most in need of plan to transfer property.

An Estate Planning Attorney will make sure your assets are protected, distributed the way you desire, and that the tax burden on your loved ones is reduced. Only a practicing lawyer can provide these things for you. Don't try to use a computer program or write one yourself. You will forget things or overlook things that a lawyer will not. If you already have a will or trust, make sure you keep it updated. For example, if an heir of your estate dies before you. You will want to update your will or the state will decide for you who is next in line. You don't want to leave behind confusion and hurt feelings.

To really put this in perspective, here are the main reasons why creating a will or trust is the most important thing you will ever do. Without a will or trust, the court will step in to make all the decisions for you such as; if you have no appointed guardian for minor children then the courts will decide where your children will go. They will decide on the transfer of such things as family heirlooms. If there is someone in your family who you may not like, they could be awarded part or all of your estate. If you wanted something special to go to a friend or significant other, know that they will not get anything unless it's in writing.

The courts will also provide an executor of your estate if you do not appoint one yourself. This person may not make the choices you would have made about the distribution of your property. The estate taxes are much higher without a will or trust. Probate expenses can be between 2% and 5% of the total asset value. There are just too many reasons for you not to put off creating your own will or trust one more day.

I am an attorney at law for wills, trusts, and probate in Snohomish, WA. Receive your first consultation for free.

Source: EzineArticles
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