Most people don’t think about estate planning. Whether you think you have more time or don’t believe it’s necessary, you need a will more than you think. Not having a will or having a will that is not legally recognized could result in your estate going to court, which could be costly and extend the grief of the people you love.
According to Legal Zoom, 74% of Americans surveyed found estate planning to be a confusing topic. No one likes to think about death and dying, which is uncomfortable in the first place, but the legal element of estate planning can be even more complicated. No wonder 55% of Americans die without a will. Here are a few reasons why you should seek legal guidance to secure a will today.
What Happens When You Don't Have a Will?
If you pass away and you don’t have a will or your will is not recognized by the probate court, you are considered to have died “intestate.” This doesn’t mean that the government automatically takes your estate, but it does mean that the state is responsible for key decisions like appointing an executor. It’s possible you would have made those decisions differently, which is why you should outline these choices in a will.
Even in the best of scenarios, a significant part of your estate will be cannibalized by the probate process. On average, 3-8% of an estate is spent on the legal process, from a probate lawyer and court fees to accounting fees and appraisals, according to Advance Capitol Management. Navigating probate court can take up to two years, and without a recognized will, it is possible that people you love will not be legally recognized and will not receive any part of the estate.
What If Your Will Isn't Recognized?
More data published by Legal Zoom indicates that 50% of Americans incorrectly believe that their will protects them from the probate court. If a will doesn’t follow the legal requirements, and if a probate lawyer has not already been appointed to execute the will, there is a chance that it will not be honored in court. This means that your estate will end up in probate court despite the existence of your will.
If you want to protect your loved ones from a legal nightmare, contact a probate lawyer to draft a legal will. Working with a professional will ensure that your family and loved ones will inherit parts of your estate per your own wishes. Make sure that your end-of-life plans offer peace of mind for you and the ones you leave behind when you work with a probate lawyer from The Heartland Law Firm. Call us today!