No will? No problem – the state will provide one for you. But how likely is it that the state will carry out your wishes regarding assets and guardian selection of your children? How would the state even know what you want to happen?
A post on the CBS Boston website titled “Estate Planning For All” explains more.
Yes, your state’s estate laws and the probate judge will decide who will get your assets if you die. And if you are married with young children and both you and your spouse pass at the same time, the judge also gets to decide who will be the children’s guardian.
Think about that.
Now think about your family. Is there a cousin Vinny in the family tree?
Do you want either of those two and their families raising your kids?
Talk to the person(s) you are considering to raise your children. Find out about their values, goals, parenting style, and maybe most importantly—their patience level.
Estate planning doesn’t have to be fancy, expensive or complicated. And it’s not just for millionaires and movie stars. You still want to do it right, and you should turn to a professional to make sure you have the following documents drafted correctly.
- Draft a will or a trust. Name an executor/trustee to execute your wishes and distribute your assets and if you have minor children you should name a guardian for them.
- Sign a Durable Power of Attorney. This lets you to appoint an individual to act on your behalf legally and financially if you are incapacitated.
- Health Care Proxy. In our Wichita, Kansas office we call them Durable Power of Attorney for Healthcare Decisions. This lets you to select someone to make medical decisions for you if you are unable to make them. You need to have a discussion with the person you ask to be your proxy about how you feel about death, dying, and life support. Make sure they understand that this is about you and your wishes—not about what they think is right.
Talk to an experienced estate planning attorney, create a sound estate planning strategy, and keep Cousin Vinny out of the mix.
For more information visit my Wichita KS Estate Planning website
Reference: CBS Boston (May 1, 2015) “Estate Planning For All”