How Intestacy Laws Could Affect Your Loved Ones

Sep 2, 2010

Do you have a Last Will and Testament? If you do not, your estate will be settled by the dictates of state law and by court decisions.

Executor Chosen by the Court

If you die without a Will, a judge will select your estate executor. Although, the judge may choose the person you would have chosen anyway, the selection process could cause family disharmony.

Guardians Chosen by the Court

No one expects to die young, but if you do and you have minor children they must live with someone else. If you do not have a Will and do not name a guardian, the court system will choose a guardian for you. This could lead to your children becoming wards of the state if no family member agrees to take custody. On the other end of the spectrum, there could be several family members embroiled in a drawn-out custody battle. During this time your children could encounter instability when they most need stability and love.

No Money for Expenses

When you pass away your loved ones will have to pay for your funeral costs and court expenses. If your assets are tied up in probate, they will have to use their own money to cover these costs. If they do not have money, they may have to take out loans. When you create a Will and an estate plan, you can take measures to make sure money is readily available for your family to use immediately after your death.

Long Probate Process

Many estates have to endure probate, which is a court process used to pay your final debts and pass out property to heirs. Even with a Will. it can take a year or more. When you do not create a Last Will and Testament to express your wishes, you are setting your family up for a n even longer settlement period. With an intestate estate, state laws must be examined to determine proper heirs at law. This is a time -consuming process and can often leave a family member disinherited or cause bitterness between heirs.

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