Whether taking the time to create an estate plan or not, many people wonder how their affairs will be handled after they die. This is a completely natural thing to think about. It’s important to have some idea of how affairs are handled, so that you understand the power of estate planning. Take a look at some of the information below, to better understand how your affairs will be handled. If you have any questions, or if you’d like to create an estate plan, contact a qualified, experienced estate planning attorney.
Without a plan…
If you don’t have an estate plan in place, you have no control over how your affairs are handled. Your affairs will most likely be decided through the process of probate. Probate is an expensive, time consuming, and public process. The probate court will appoint an individual (“administrator” or “personal representative”) to handle your estate affairs. This person will be responsible for locating and managing all of your assets and handling all aspects of your estate settlement.
Your personal representative will also have to distribute your assets subject to the probate process after all of your affairs are handled. Because you don’t have an estate plan, your state’s laws will determine how your assets in probate are distributed to beneficiaries. These laws are referred to as intestacy laws. If you have minor children, the court will also decide the guardian to care for your children. Throughout the entire process, the court and your personal representative will work hard to handle your affairs.
It’s important to remember that, because you haven’t created a plan, your affairs may not be handled in the way in which you desired. This is why it’s extremely important to create a plan during your lifetime.
Take a look at our next blog post (part 2 of 2), to see how your affairs are handled if you have an estate plan.