Once you reach a certain age, you will likely be inundated with advertisements, telling you to do your estate planning in Melbourne. Even though most people know that putting a will or trust in place is a smart idea, it’s been estimated that over 60% of Americans don’t have one! If you have been putting off doing your estate planning, it might be time to get started, which is easier than you may think. A qualified estate planning attorney will be able to walk you through the paperwork, and make sure that your wishes are honored when you pass.
But what happens to your assets, your debts, and your family, if you die “intestate,” or without a will?
Under intestacy laws, only a certain portion of your estate can be given to your spouse, with the rest divided among other heirs. Furthermore, if you and your partner are unmarried, they will not be entitled to receive anything at all. If you want to make sure your surviving partner is taken care of, you need to put it in writing, as soon as possible.
If you are single parent or have lost your spouse with whom you had children, don’t assume that your kids will be able to manage whatever is left to them. The state will likely transfer your estate to your children, divided equally, upon their reaching legal age (18 in most states). However, for most people, this windfall can be stressful and devastating, and it’s better to set up a controlled trust if you have children under the age of 25.
Unless you have a clear and concise will in place upon your death, every asset that is transferred, whether that is to your surviving spouse, your children, or someone else, will be heavily taxed. These estate and inheritance taxes are significant; up to 20% in some states! When you want your loved ones to get the maximum benefits, and avoid losing important funds, make sure you have a will and/or trust created by a qualified attorney.
Regardless of the structure of your family, the size of your estate, and the amounts of your debts, when you do not have a will, the state executors have the power to divide and distribute according to default guidelines. Most of us want more control over our affairs than that! When you’re ready to make your will and get the peace of mind that you deserve, get in touch with Harnage Law and request your free consultation.