This may seem harsh to some of you, but if you STILL haven’t gotten your estate plan together, you just don’t care.
Failing to appoint a guardian for your minor children will result, at the very least, in the Clerk deciding who will raise your kids and, at most, a custody battle akin to a divorce between the loved ones you’re leaving behind.
Allowing the state’s default rules to control the distribution of your assets will result in your spouse, if you have living parents or kids, getting less than all of the assets. Picture that: instead of your spouse receiving everything and carrying on with raising your kids the best they can, they could be splitting the assets with your living parents or having to hold a majority of the assets in trust for your kids. That’s likely not in your family’s best interests.
Dealing with the death of a loved one, especially a spouse or parent, is difficult enough. By dying without a plan in place, you’re essentially leaving your family with a blank map to navigate the Estate Administration process. They’ll behave to figure it all out themselves. The Administration process is enough of a burden with a plan in place, but it’s more of a burden without one.
You worked hard to get where you are today. You’ve accumulated a lifetime of assets that likely have significant value. By failing to put a plan in place, you’re giving the State the right to tell your family where your assets will go. They’re your assets – you should decide where they go.
Planning now can save your family thousands more after you pass. Your family can expect to pay 0.4% probate fee on the value of your estate, up to $6,000, and will likely have an attorney help them navigate the process, since you didn’t plan ahead, which can cost several thousand more. Spending a fraction of that to prepare an estate plan now can allow your family to use the savings for things they need, rather than wasting it.
How would your life be remembered if you died today? Would there be a record of your accomplishments, your wishes, your goals, and your plans for your family? Probably not. Estate Planning is more than just the distribution of your assets – it’s also leaving your family with some direction and some insight into your life and love for your family. Don’t have a plan yet? You just don’t care.