What happens if I don’t have a plan?

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Too many people procrastinate about estate planning. They’re busy, or they don’t think they own enough, or they’re not old enough, or they’re confused and don’t know who can help them. Then, when something happens, their families have to pick up the pieces.
If you own assets titled in your name and you don’t have a plan when you die, your estate will go through probate, and your assets will be distributed according to state law—and that is probably not what you would want.
For example, if you are married and have children, each will likely receive a share of your estate. This means your spouse could receive only a fraction of your assets, which may not be enough to live on. Also, because state laws usually allow for the inheritance of property only by bloodline, an unmarried partner, special friend or favorite charity would be excluded.
If you have minor children, the court will appoint a guardian to raise them without knowing whom you would have chosen. It will also control their inheritances until they reach legal age, at which time they will receive the full amount. Most parents prefer their children to inherit when they are older.
If you become incapacitated before you die, the court can take control of your assets and your care. If your assets are titled in your name, no one but the court will be able to conduct business for you.
A Good Estate Plan:
Provides clear instructions for distributing your assets after you die.
• Protects your assets and gives instructions for your care should you become incapacitated.
• Names a guardian and inheritance manager for minor children.
• Provides for those who depend on you (parents, children, pets).
• Provides for the transfer of a business at retirement, disability, and death.
• Provides for family members who may be irresponsible with money or need future protection from creditors or divorce.
• Includes life and other insurance to provide for your family and protect your assets.
• Coordinates your assets so that each person receives the inheritance you want them to have.
• Is an ongoing process, not a one-time event. You should update your estate plan as your situation and the laws change.
An experienced attorney can provide valuable guidance and will prepare the documents correctly. You’ve worked hard all your life to build your estate. Having your estate plan prepared by a professional will give you peace of mind, knowing it will work the way you want to protect your assets and those you love.
To learn more call (530) 674-9761 or visit http://www.hm1law.com/learning-center

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