Chapel Hill estate planning lawyers can provide personalized help and support in making sure you control what happens to your legacy. It’s imperative that you ensure you have made plans in advance for your money and property so you can control what happens to your wealth after you pass on.
The title to this post asks what happens to your assets if you don’t make an estate plan. The simple answer to this is: you won’t know. Estate planning is a lot of things, but I think of it as a tool to understand what you have, to identify your options for organizing the management of your affairs, and to plan for specific outcomes. Estate planning allows you to establish who will control and receive your assets, who will make decisions for you, and how these things will be done. The truth is, you can have a Will – even one drawn up correctly by a lawyer – and still not have estate planning. At a minimum, the estate planning process should examine what assets will be controlled by what legal arrangement (for example, your Will), and should strategically assess what the best approach is for accomplishing your goals.
Clarity Legal Group® has extensive experience with the estate planning process, and we can put our legal knowledge to work to help ensure that you have taken care of your loved ones and protected the wealth that you have worked so hard to acquire. Give us a call today to find out more about the ways in which our legal team can help you.
It might surprise you to learn that I think our experience with estate and trust administration is the most important credential that prepares us to help you with estate planning. Our experience helping clients and their families through incapacity, and administering estates and trusts following their deaths is what informs us about the options for getting it right and the risks of not planning effectively. The experience we have is the basis for your good planning.
What Happens to your Assets If You have no Legal Documents at all?
If you have no Will or other legal documents providing for the distribution of your assets at death, then intestacy law will determine what happens to the wealth that you have acquired. Intestacy laws are designed to pass your assets down to your family members. However, they are unlikely to distribute the wealth as you would choose, and this is the most expensive way to transfer assets at death.
In this case, the specific ways in which your wealth will be passed on to loved ones will vary depending upon the surviving relatives that you have. The outcome can differ depending upon whether you have living parents, children, or are married, and for how long you have been married.
If you do not have living parents, a surviving spouse, or children (or descendants of children), other relatives such siblings or nieces and nephews will inherit under intestacy law. Generally these intestacy laws make sense, but I can say that rarely (with exception of the circumstance where you have a spouse but no living children, descendants of children, or parents) would the intestacy laws be what you would choose. Even then, you have the question of what would happen under these laws at the death of your surviving spouse.
Good estate planning will address management of your legal, financial, and tax affairs in the event of your incapacity, and make sure that the right people have the tools necessary to make health care decisions for you if you cannot. Effective estate planning will consider health care planning, management of income and estate tax outcomes, and asset protection planning for those who are to inherit from you. Good estate planning will explore your goals and make sure that things happen the way you want them to. It is wise to work with an experienced attorney, dedicated to educating you about your options, to make an estate plan that gives you control over your life and legacy.
Estate planning is about determining what happens to your assets, but it is also about controlling your autonomy throughout your lifetime. To do so you must ensure that you do everything possible to make effective use of the legal tools that give you the control you need.
Getting Help From Chapel Hill Estate Planning Lawyers
The team of Chapel Hill estate planning lawyers at Clarity Legal Group® can provide you with personalized, one-on-one advice when it comes to taking control of your legacy. You have worked too hard over the course of your life to leave the distribution of your assets to chance and uncertainty. You owe it to yourself and your family to put a solid plan in place.
To find out more about how our firm can help you with the estate planning process, give us a call at 919-484-0012 or contact us online today.