Do not fail to plan your estate for your family: a scary story

Do not fail to plan your estate for your family.

I have a scary story and you’ll learn the word “escheat.”

About a dozen years ago, another attorney had an estate which had to be probated. There was no Will, no plan, and no reference to any relatives.

Escheat means at the end of that probate estate, the attorney wrote a check. He sent all of the proceeds of the deceased man’s assets to the state. And that was that. Don’t be that person.

Indeed, I have another scary situation: this is called “intestate succession.”

So, if you pass away without an estate plan, and there is nothing to designate to whom your assets go, they will go according to the law of the state. So, according to state law and levels of consanguinity, your assets will be distributed. Your family does not get to express a preference; your assets go according to state law. AND EVEN WORSE: your estate most likely needs to go through probate court to accomplish this.

Now this does not happen that often. And that’s good. But do not be that person. Estate planning is not a complicated matter if you reach out to the right person to take care of it with you. 

You DO care about your legacy.

On the other hand, the effect of failing to plan your estate is as if you said, “I know I worked my whole life. And now I have these things, these accounts, this real estate. But, I don’t really care what happens to it. My loved ones will figure it out.”

Hopefully, they would figure it out. But let’s take care of them, and let’s take care of your legacy. I hope this has not spooked you too much, but some of us might need a little wake-up call, right? Do not fail to plan your estate for your family.

I hope this helps you.