One of the misconceptions that many people harbor is that they don’t need an estate plan because they would be okay with their next of kin assuming ownership of their assets. It’s the “let them worry about it” approach. This is a bad decision for a number of different reasons.
If you were to die without a will or any other type of estate planning documents you would have died “intestate.” Each state has intestacy laws of succession that are utilized to determine who would be the rightful heirs to your resources. If you are married the first person in line would be your spouse. If you have children, but you are not married, your children would be your heirs. If you are married and have children it gets more complicated. Each state law is a little different but both your spouse and your children would receive some portion of your estate.
Though these laws of succession exist, difficulties can arise when you die intestate. Your estate will go through the process of probate, and during this time the court will appoint a personal representative to handle your final affairs under the supervision of the court.
Interested parties could step forward and make claims against the estate. People in the family could disagree about certain details and legal challenges could ensue. All this can take a lot of time and cost a lot of money while generating hard feelings among individuals that you cared about.
There is no good reason to take these risks. If you are currently unprepared, right now would be a good time to make an appointment with a good Oklahoma City Estate Planning lawyer so you can sit down and state your wishes in a legally binding manner.
Author, President and Founding Attorney
Parman & Easterday
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