If your loved ones are left to figure out the mess of your estate after you’re no longer around to help provide context, that’s not a gift. In fact, it can cause added stress and grief during an already difficult time in their lives. But that’s not the only reason that your estate can cause problems. Skipping an estate plan because you assume your estate is too small, you’re too young, or that the state’s procedures for passing on your assets is “just fine” can all lead to unintended consequences.
One of the biggest reasons for people to skip estate planning is because they are married already and assume that they don’t need additional support. After all, the spouse is legally connected, right? It’s not always as simple as your spouse getting your assets, and there might be situations in which you want to diversify a default plan to give all your assets to a spouse.
Estate planning attorneys often are asked what will happen without properly drafted estate planning documents in place. This is a tough question, as the answer relies on the specific circumstances of each individual.
But it’s not just about your assets and how they’ll be handled if you pass away. What about life planning decisions that could be incorporated into a power of attorney? Those are also important. State laws will step in to manage your estate if you haven’t done it, but this will rarely reflect your personal preferences and desires. It’s far smarter to plan ahead with the help of an estate planning lawyer.