Many people are resistant to estate planning. They may feel they can ignore the topic “until the time is right.” They think they have some time and can put it off until they are more in the mood. Unfortunately, there may not be that extra time they are counting on.
COVID-19 Increases the Need for Estate Planning
Although it is true that anyone can be struck down at any moment in an unfortunate accident. Now, in the time of this global pandemic, many succumb to the COVID-19 with little warning. Every day, more people in the U.S. die from this deadly virus than were killed in the terrorist attack of 9/11.
Normally robust and healthy individuals are brutally knocked down in the prime of their life. They may have been thinking about estate planning but just not gotten around to it yet. Their families are left with the devastation of the loss of their loved one, and suddenly, they may also be left with no access to funds to pay rent or the mortgage, to make the car payment, or even to buy food.
Obstacles Your Family May Face if You Die Without a Will
If you die without a will, Texas law determines how your estate will be divided. There is a hierarchy of who inherits depending on whether you leave a living spouse, have living children, have stepchildren, parents, and/or siblings.
Before that happens, there must be someone appointed to be your personal representative. If you leave a will, you will name that person. But without a will, a person close to you may want to assume that role, but other heirs object, so the probate court will have to settle the dispute. This takes time.
When you plan for this prior to your death, you can make sure that your checking account names a beneficiary who will have immediate access to funds that can keep your family in their home and immediately free up funds for necessary expenses.
In estate planning, you can transfer your assets via trusts, which will pass to your heirs without needing to go through probate court. These can be set up so your heirs can avoid paying hefty taxes.
Do not wait. Take heed about how this deadly virus can suddenly strike you down. Do not let it do that to you before you have planned for asset distribution after your death.
For answers to your estate planning questions, and assistance in drafting your will and trusts, contact our estate planning attorneys at Springer & Lyle.