If you don’t have a will in place, then 2018 is the year to avoid dying without a Will. Dying without a will, is known as dying “intestate”. It is costly to your heirs and can leave them with no say over your affairs and assets once you’re gone. Smart estate planning will allow you to give the majority of your estate to your heirs, rather than the government. Many people believe this kind of planning is only for the wealthy.
However, an estate plan can mean more to families with modest means because they can avoid unnecessary court costs and legal fees and state laws can require undesirable distributions. Consider this example:
Joseph and Katherine had three children. Katherine died in a car accident on her way to the office. She died without a Will or estate plan. Her state’s laws divided he estate into fourths: 1/4 went to Joseph and 1/4 to each of her kids. Joseph had to get a second job to make ends meet. The court set up guardianships for each child, which required ongoing court costs, including accounting, guardianship and attorney fees. By the time the children reached 18 and received their inheritances, there was not enough left for them to go to college.