A lot of people procrastinate when it comes to estate planning. For various reasons they keep putting it off until another day, and many times their family members wind up paying the price.
In fact, studies consistently show that the majority of adults don’t have all of the appropriate estate planning documents in place.
If you were to pass away without having executed a last will the probate court would be forced to distribute your probate assets according to the intestate succession laws in your state. This distribution may not be consistent with your true wishes, and this is part of why you should be proactive about planning ahead.
Another reason why you would do well to construct a formal estate plan with the assistance of a licensed estate planning attorney is to be certain that everything is done in the correct, legally binding fashion.
When you formally execute estate planning documents with the assistance of a lawyer you know that they will stand up in probate court. There will be no misunderstandings or openings for the unscrupulous to exploit.
To underscore the truth in the above statement look no further than a recent will forgery case that is unfolding in Tennessee. A man is being charged with forging his father’s will in an attempt to essentially steal over $250,000.
Two other individuals who allegedly witnessed the signing are being charged with conspiracy to commit theft.
If you execute a valid last will with the assistance of a licensed estate planning attorney and store the document appropriately, perhaps keeping a copy in your attorney’s possession, you can keep the criminal element at bay.
Author, President and Founding Attorney
Parman & Easterday