When you hear the word “estate,” you may think it doesn’t apply to you. After all, estates are often thought to only include large assets such as mansions and financial wealth. This couldn’t be further from the truth.
What Is an Estate?
An estate is everything you own including your home, finances, vehicles and beyond. The amount of your property doesn’t matter, it all still falls under the general term “estate. An estate plan, at its most basic, is a set of instructions detailing what to do with all of your assets in the event of your death.
3 Risks of Living Without an Estate Plan
When completed in advance, an estate plan will protect your assets and your family from a variety of risks.
1. The Court Decides How to Divvy Up Your Assets
If you don’t put into writing your beneficiaries and who receives what assets, the court will decide who gets what in the event of your death. Unfortunately, the court doesn’t understand the unique dynamics of your family and may not follow through in a way that works best for them or in a way that best reflects what you wish to have happen.
2. Your Children May Not Be Fully Protected
Having a will and an estate plan is the only way to fully protect your children. If they’re under 18 at the time of your death, your estate plan will outline how they should be cared for and what assets they’re entitled to. Without these in place, not only will the court decide what assets they receive and when, but they’ll also decide who will raise the children if both parents are no longer living.
3. Your Family Could Be Stuck With the Consequences
One of the components of an estate plan is loosening some of the tax burdens for your loved ones. Without an estate plan in place, those who receive assets could be stuck with a large bill due to federal, state and inheritance taxes.
Beyond the financial burden, families are often left reeling from your death while attempting to split your assets. Fires flare and families begin to fight back and forth, sometimes resulting in drawn-out courtroom battles.
Only an Estate Plan Can Prevent These Risks
An estate plan will protect your family, your children and your assets. It will ensure your wishes are carried out in the way you want them to be. If you don’t have a plan in place, or if yours is outdated in any way, we recommend calling an experienced estate planning attorney for help. Reach out to our Fort Worth, TX, firm today by calling 817-755-1852 to learn more.