What Happens (to my stuff) After Death?
Not everyone is comfortable or understands how estate planning or estate litigation works, which explains why approximately half of Americans are without a will, with fewer having an estate plan. Most people think that they don’t need to have a will or an estate plan because they don’t have an estate, but this is a misconception. Estate, in legalese, refers to everything (home, investments, personal property, retirement plans, bank accounts, and interest in a business or partnership) that you own in the time of your death.
Estate planning involves legal documents such as wills, beneficiary designation, revocable trusts, and many others. These legal documents will protect not only your assets and personal properties, but also your heirs and beneficiaries. Estate planning can prevent family conflict and expensive and long probate court proceedings, as well as unforeseen creditors. The will or living trust will provide instructions and details on the allocation of the property, while beneficiary designation specifically indicates to whom life insurance proceeds and retirement accounts go to.
Having left no will or any other legal document that discusses the distribution of the deceased person’s property, the estate will then be handled by the probate court in accordance to state law. The legal team at the Mokaram Law Firm often see how this results in conflicts between inheritors and sometimes these results are not what you would have wanted.
Finding the right estate lawyer can be tricky, so one thing you should look for is a good personality fit. Estate lawyers will be given the authority and durable power to handle the affairs of your estate, and they will be the people who will be dealing with your spouse or other family members in the event of your death. It is vital, therefore, that everyone can get along or be civil with each other. Additionally, it is just as important to find an estate lawyer well-versed in estate laws, not only in writing wills and being health care proxies.