The Cost of Doing Nothing

Many people have an estate plan on their to-do list, but what happens if you do not get around to it before you pass away? The answer is that your loved ones could face several problems that lead to wasted time, expense, and conflict amongst themselves. All of this could add extra grief to your passing.

If you die without an estate plan, then you have died “intestate.” This means that many types of assets will pass according to state law instead of your personal wishes. Very often, the state intestate distribution pattern is less than ideal.

For instance, property may pass to a relative you never spent time with or that you disliked. Further, dying intestate will ensure that any intended beneficiaries who are not related to you will receive nothing. In a worst-case scenario, if you die intestate and without family as outlined in Michigan intestate succession law, then your property will go to the state.

Assets that pass by intestate succession include assets not owned jointly or that do not have beneficiary designations. These assets can include things like real property, retirement accounts, life insurance policies, and bank accounts. Additionally, dying without a living trust means your assets will go through probate court, which is time consuming and expensive.

So, what can you do? The answer is to stop putting off your estate plan. A properly funded living trust will avoid probate and allow assets to pass quickly and quietly to the people you choose. Not to mention, power of attorney documents will allow you to select trusted individuals to handle your financial matters or make important medical decisions if you are unable.

If you are ready to take the next step in setting up your estate plan, contact the attorneys at Wright Beamer at 248.477.6300. We are here to help.

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