Tarina, our Client Relationships Coordinator, hears it all the time, “I wish I hadn’t put off planning for so long. I just feel so much better now that we have a plan in place.”
Do you want to make things easier on your family? Or more difficult? Good planning will spare your family stress, conflict, and expense later. I will never forget this article from Today.com by reporter Sharon Epperson where she talked about her father passing away and what his planning meant for her and her sisters, “By making some important decisions while living, my father helped to lessen the overwhelming stress of coping with [his] sudden loss.”
Sadly, loved ones left behind bear the burden of lack of planning.
So, what happens when you die without an effective plan or even a will?
In the US courts, if someone dies without a will it is called intestate, which basically means the state will decide what to do with any assets. There will be a lot of paperwork, court appearances, etc.
One of the most difficult things is making a list of all assets and debts. Since these types of things are not typically discussed freely, this can be a real headache for your loved ones left behind. During a time of grief they have to play detective trying to hunt down what you may own or owe.
There are also many assets that aren’t determined by a will. For these type of assets your loved ones will have to gather the necessary paperwork to prove whom the beneficiary or new owner is. Assets that aren’t passed down by will are:
- Life insurance proceeds
- Jointly owned assets, such as real estate or bank accounts
- Property held in a living trust
- Funds in IRAs, 401(k)s, or other retirement accounts
- Payable-on-death bank accounts
- Residential real estate with a “Transfer on Death Instrument” recorded with the county
We know there are a lot of reasons people don’t plan. Tarina says a lot people admit (after planning) that they were really intimidated by the process or didn’t feel they knew Attorney David Edwards well enough, but none of them regret finally taking the leap and planning. At Edwards Group we’ve worked really hard to make the process as painless and effective as possible. We also offer a money-back guarantee. Now, what attorney do you know of who does that?
If you’re ready to stop gambling on what will transpire if the unthinkable happens, here are the next steps to take:
1) Our free, no pressure workshops are a great way to learn more about the planning needs your family may have at every stage of life. It’s also a great way to get to know our firm better.
3) Not ready to talk to a person yet? We have put a lot of our time into developing a website that contains helpful information about all aspects of planning. You’ll find hundreds of articles about estate planning, trusts, Veterans benefits, Medicaid and Medicare on our website. Feel free to use the search button to quickly get to what you need.
No matter what, I hope that you will take the time to learn about ways to protect your family and your assets. The other side of our practice involves helping people who didn’t plan properly clean up the mess that’s left behind. My sincere desire would be for every family to have effective planning strategies in place and for no family to have go through the consequences of bad planning. Take a step in the right direction today by attending a workshop, giving us a call at 217-726-9200, or signing up for our weekly email newsletter.