Estate planning is a safety net that many people rely on to execute their last wishes. Some people only consider this planning to be necessary for their golden years. Passing away without an estate plan can cause more problems than one might expect, though.
When Prince passed away several years ago, the world-famous rock-star did not have an estate plan for his assets. Now, years later, his family is still fighting over who will receive a cut of the estate. While the fighting has already lasted several years, the full consequences will last longer than just a few years.
The emotional toll
The lack of a proper estate plan can take an emotional toll on family and friends alike. When someone is no longer able to make financial or healthcare decisions due to deteriorating health conditions, it is usually up to friends and family members to step in and handle financial and healthcare decisions for the disabled person. If the proper documents are not in place to name persons to make these decisions and grant them the necessary powers to carry them out, the high-priced courts and lawyers will have to be involved to carry out such decisions. A proper estate plan will avoid this result with great benefits to the family and friends alike. It will avoid burdening your family with making dangerous healthcare directives and will benefit your family with clear direction on how you want your assets to disperse after your passing. Estate planning can also offer certain asset protection benefits for even the most simple estate.
Estate planning can avoid leaving unanswered questions concerning the distribution of your assets. When someone passes on without specifying who they want to receive their assets, infighting among the family is bound to happen. When a court decides how to disperse the assets, there may be loved ones who do not agree with the decision.
This disagreement can lead to resentment towards others who received assets from the estate. If no one addresses the dissatisfaction effectively, it can result in families and friends of the decedent splitting apart from one another, and maybe never communicating again.
Regardless of the size of an estate, now is always the best time to begin planning. A few hours of work with an experienced estate planning attorney today can keep families from fighting for a lifetime.