One of the questions that we commonly receive from individuals who are still on the fence about estate planning revolves around whether or not they actually need a will. For example, a person who has a smaller estate may mistakenly think that they do not need a will because they simply don’t have an abundance of assets. However, not having a will is something that could cause your family and loved ones a tremendous amount of stress and trigger a financial burden that you may not be aware of.
4 Things That Happen If You Die Without a Will
There are many things that will happen if you pass away without a will. While this list is one that can be extensive, here are a few of the key points that you should be aware of:
- What Happens to Your Money? As soon as you pass away, the assets that you have in your name will be frozen. It’s important to remember that when you pass, if you have a Power of Attorney, that document dies with you meaning that your power of attorney will not be able to access bank accounts. Any money that is in your name can only be accessed once an individual makes a petition to the surrogate court to open a probate action.
- What Happens to Your Children? One of the great things about a Last Will & Testament is the fact that within that document, you can name a guardian for your children. If you are married, then typically the surviving parent will become their primary guardian. However, what would happen if both you and your spouse pass away? Having a Last Will & Testament in place appoints a trusted individual to care for your children in the event that you pass away. If this is not in place, then family members or friends will have to petition the court to get any type of custody of your children which is something that can be an agonizing process.
- What Happens to Your Property? Your real property is something that falls into the same realm as any money or assets that you may have when you pass away. If a piece of property is in your name only, your family will need to go through the probate process in order to claim it or sell it. If you own property with a person and the property is not titled in a way where it passes to the other person, then you put that co-owner in a position where they will still need to go through the administration process.
- What Happens to My Spouse? Many people mistakenly think that any money that they have will just transition over to their spouse when they pass away. Therefore, it’s not important to have an estate plan in place. However, while this is true the majority of the time, it’s not true all the time depending on the circumstances. The best thing that you can do is to be safe than sorry and put an estate plan in place for you and your spouse that will ensure they are protected.
Set Up Your Last Will & Testament Today
If you don’t have a will or you’re concerned regarding the age or wording of your current will, we encourage you to get in touch with us and set up an appointment. Our team has worked with a wide range of clients from different walks of life. We are confident that we can provide you with the resources that you need to put together a will that provides you and your loved one with the peace of mind that you need. Call Duvall Law Firm, LLC at 410-721-1660 or fill out our contact form and we will be in touch to schedule a meeting.