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Don't Have a Will? This Is What Happens

A Last Will & Testament is a simple document that accomplishes a lot for the people you love. Wills:

  • distribute  property;

  • arrange payment of debts;

  • provide others with important instructions; and

  • families who have young children can decide who will take care of them if something were to happen.

Having a Will is common sense and protects your loved ones.

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Despite this, over two-thirds of American adults under the age of 34 do not have a Will and only 56% of American parents have a Will. It doesn’t end there; 52% of adult children do not know where their parents keep their Will and 58% are generally unsure of the contents of their parent’s Wills.
 
This creates difficult emotional and financial situations for children whose parents have passed away without a Will (which is called being “intestate”).

Consequences of not having a Will

What Happens If I Don't Have A Will

There are many consequences of dying without a Will. Here are 7 of the most important ones.

1. My Stuff Goes Where?

Let’s start with the most obvious point – without a Will, you don’t have a say in what will happen to your assets. Instead, A court will decide what happens to your assets. A good example of this  is the recent death of superstar Prince. His sister filed documents to state that Prince passed “intestate,” meaning he died without leaving a Will.

What happens now for Prince’s family? According to his estate lawyers, it is a problem that will take years to sort out. His estate is valued at around $300 million, not including any unpublished music. It also means that whoever inherits the estate may have full control of Prince’s unpublished music.
 
This case highlights the importance of writing a Will. Although writing a Will may seem time-consuming, it usually is not. It is a mild inconvenience now that may prevent a major inconvenience for your loved ones later on.

2. Who is in Charge of My Estate?

If you don’t have a Will then you also don’t have an executor. The executor is the person that you name to carry out your Will. This includes going to probate court and validating your Will, then managing your estate and distributing its property.

In a Will, people pick someone that they trust and who is willing and able to do the job. If you don’t have a Will, a court will appoint someone, and they might not be your favorite choice.

3. My Children Get What?

Your children may not receive the amount of money that you wanted them to receive. It is also possible that they will receive all of the allocated money once they reach the age of 18, which may not be the best age. If you write a Will, you can decide exactly how much each child gets and how old they will be when they receive it.

4. My Grumpy Brother Raises my Kids?

You don’t get the chance to select guardians for your young children. This often means that the government is involved in decisions about your child’s life.  Moreover, a government-appointed  guardian may have a different idea about what is in the best interest of your child. The government will also decide how much money young children will receive, and they will take some of your estate as their fee.

5. I Get Buried Where?

There is little chance to make your burial preferences clear. A Will gives you the chance to make this clear, so that your partner and family know what you prefer with your remains.

6. My Favorite Watch...

Do you have any items that hold sentimental value, or you consider a family heirloom? Would you want someone in particular to get that item, as you know they would appreciate it? A Will can help to protect these items; if not certain assets may have to be sold to fund the estate

7. But I Believe in Charitable Giving!

Without a Will, a court will distribute your assets to people, so  if there is an important organization to you (such as a religious one) they won’t receive anything. A Will allows you to give all or a part of your money to a charitable organization.  For many organizations, this is essential for their continuance and good works.

Just Do It

What happens if you don't have a will- Bloomwell, Legal Documents for familes

You can avoid this by writing a Will with an attorney or by using a site like Bloomwell, as it will tell the court exactly how to divide your property and care for your children. There are certain things we all have to do to protect our loved ones, and this is simply one of those things.

We would love to hear from you! Share this article with your story about having, or not having a will! 

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References

Kelley Holland. Prince's apparent lack of planning may cost his estate. CNBC, 26TH April 2016. < http://www.cnbc.com/2016/04/26/princes-apparent-lack-of-planning-may-cost-his-estate.html>

Sheiresa Ngo. The Consequences of Neglecting Your Estate Plan. Money and Career Cheat Sheet, 6th May 2015. < http://www.cheatsheet.com/personal-finance/the-consequences-of-neglecting-your-estate-plan.html/?a=viewall>
 
Jim Yih. 12 Consequences If You Die Without a Will. Retire Happy. <http://retirehappy.ca/consequences-if-you-die-without-a-will/>
 

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