For many parents, the goal after death is to pass on all or most of their assets to their children. However, things might not always play out this way. While the will of the deceased should be honored no matter what, the court will often only approve what they can prove. Without an estate plan, your children could miss out on their inheritance.
Learn about some issues an estate plan can help your loved ones avoid.
Possessions and grief often create an unfortunate combination. Far too often, after the passing of a loved one, families will argue about who gets what, and sometimes, these arguments are so severe that the family dynamic is forever changed.
The source of these arguments is often centered around the idea that each person feels like they deserve something that another person feels they are equally deserving of. Estate plans help avoid these scenarios because they allow you to designate what your children will inherit on a legal document, which eliminates the need to go back and forth and argue over the fact.
Another scenario that can arise when an estate plan is not prepared is the assignment of assets by the court. The family conflicts mentioned above often spill over into court. In these situations, a judge will listen to statements presented by everyone involved and ultimately use this information to determine how the assets are dispersed.
Unfortunately, if there are other parties who want to claim a portion of your estate in addition to your children, there is no guarantee that your children will inherit your full estate. In some situations, a judge can decide that an ex-spouse or a new spouse is entitled to these assets, not your children.
Without an estate plan, you can expect that your child's inheritance will be delayed. Without an estate plan, your child cannot legally take possession of an asset, such as property. They must go through the legal process, allow the judge to decide, and then wait for the possession to be legally designated in their name.
In some instances, this process can easily take months to complete An estate plan will ensure that your children have access to their inheritance as soon as possible and without the added costs of a legal battle.
If you do not have an estate plan, it is imperative that you establish one. Speak with an estate planning professional for assistance.