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Some residents of Kansas City, for one reason or another, may have put off estate planning. Perhaps, they do not think they have much in the way of assets, or they simply do not want to contemplate their inevitable death. However, even those of modest means still have assets that need to be accounted for after they die, and with the right plan in place, they can see that their affairs are handled the way they would want them to be after they die. But, what are the consequences should one pass away without an estate plan?

First, in some cases, if a person becomes incapacitated or passes away, for the deceased’s loved ones to access the deceased’s financial assets, they will need an court order. Moreover, there are practicalities that come once a person passes away.

For example, what will happen to the deceased’s pets? What if the deceased left behind a mortgage? And, how will funeral expenses be handled? A well-rounded estate plan can address all these issues.

In addition, without a trust in place, a person’s estate will have to go through probate once the person passes away. Probate can be an expensive process. And, probate is a time-consuming process.

If a person’s estate is complex, it could take months or even years to complete the probate process, especially if there are family disputes that must be settled. If a person has real estate in multiple states, that property may have to go through probate in each of the respective states.

Without an estate plan, a person also does not have a say in who inherits his or her property. For example, while state laws vary, sometimes, if a person does not have a will or trust, his or her assets will go to his or her surviving spouse. But, what happens if that spouse remarries and has children with his or her new partner? Moreover, what if a person wants to see his or her children inherit a portion of his or her estate? An estate plan can allow a person to name who inherits what, rather than leaving the issue up to the state.

As one can see, there are many benefits to estate planning. Kansas City residents who are ready to take the plunge and create an estate plan may want to first seek the advice of an estate planning attorney.

Source: The Huffington Post, “5 Consequences of Avoiding Estate Planning,” Cindy Tansin, Feb. 11, 2017