While it is true that passing away is at the bottom of everyone’s to do list, it is an inevitability that we should all face head on. It is important to take the right steps to make sure that your legacy is passed along in accordance with your wishes after you are gone. Unfortunately, a very surprising majority of Americans have no estate planning documents at all.
Eye Opening Survey Results
A legal website engaged Harris Interactive to conduct an in-depth survey a while back that was intended to gauge the estate planning preparedness of American adults. The results were surprising to say the least, and not in a good way. All in all, almost 60 percent of American adults are going through life without any estate planning documents.
You would imagine that the percentage would be dragged down by young adults, and there is some truth to this, but less than you might think. Yes, 92 percent of people that were surveyed that were under the age of 35 had no wills or trusts in place. However, approximately 44 percent of baby boomers were similarly unprepared. These are people between the ages of 45 and 64.
Believe it or not, significant numbers of senior citizens are not taking any steps to plan ahead for something that is definitely going to happen to them in the relatively near future. One out of every five individuals that are 65 years of age and older have done nothing to facilitate asset transfers to their family members.
The Consequences of Intestacy
If you were to pass away without a will or a trust to state your final wishes, the condition of intestacy would be the result. Under these circumstances, the probate court would be charged with the responsibility of sorting out the matter.
A personal representative would be appointed by the court to serve as the estate administrator. You have probably heard of the executor that handles these tasks when a will is used, and the role of a personal representative is similar.
Someone has to do it, and there is nothing inherently wrong with this, but the person that is selected may or may not have good relationships with all interested parties. This can create conflicts of interest, and this is one of the negatives that can come about if you pass away without an estate plan.
This process can be time-consuming even if there is a last will that is admitted to probate, and intestacy cases can get even more lengthy. It can take somewhere in the vicinity of a year for this type of matter to be resolved. The inheritors that are in line to receive bequests have no choice but to play this unwelcome waiting game.
And speaking of inheritors, the court will use the intestate succession laws of the state of Indiana to determine who will be the recipient of your intestate estate. Under these circumstances, someone that you never would have left out could be unintentionally disinherited.
These are just a couple of the negatives, and they are considerable, but there are others.
Don’t Let This Happen to You
There is no reason to procrastinate any longer if you are rolling the dice with no estate plan at all. We would be more than glad to sit down and get to know you, gain an understanding of your objectives, and explain your options to you in detail.
If you decide to go forward, we can help you create a custom crafted plan that provides for everyone that you love in the ideal manner. You can feel total peace of mind going forward, and if you ever need to revise any aspect of your plan, our doors will always be open.
To schedule a consultation at our Schererville estate planning office, give us a call at 219-865-2285. Our Lafayette location can be reached at 765-767-5225, and you can use our contact form if you would like to send us a message.