There is a popular conversation starter game called “Would You Rather?” in which a person must choose between two unpleasant choices, for example, “would you rather give up sweets for the rest of your life or never get to see live music again?” When most people think about creating a will, there is almost always something they would rather be doing: visiting the dentist, cleaning the gutters, thinking about their student loans, and so on. But just because you would rather not create a will doesn’t erase the fact that there are a number of reasons why you shouldn’t procrastinate in creating a will.
Would You Rather Create a Will or Have the State Determine Your Heirs?
If we knew exactly when we were going to die, then making a will might naturally be something you schedule in the last few weeks of your pre-determined time. But, of course, things don’t work that way and death can strike at any time. If you die without a will, then your assets will go into probate, and a judge will decide who gets your property based on state law, even if you promised other people that they would receive your property in life. By creating a will, you decide who gets what.
Would You Rather Create a Will or Make Your Family Litigate When You Die?
Individuals who die without a will and leave significant assets behind often force their family members to go to court and litigate with one another over who is entitled to what, which means high legal bills for them, long delays in receiving property, and potential emotional scars between family members that may never heal. Look no further than the case of Prince, who died without a will, sending hundreds of millions of property to probate court where a bevy of family members, alleged family lawyers, and their lawyers are duking it out.
Would You Rather Create a Will or Have a Stranger Oversee Your Estate?
When you create a will, you will appoint an executor who you trust to manage your affairs, pay your debts, and distribute your estate after you die. Without a will, a court will appoint an executor who may not be competent or trustworthy to do the job and make sure your beneficiaries are properly treated.
Work with a Pasadena Estate Planning Attorney Today
Christopher B. Johnson is an estate planning attorney in Pasadena, CA who has helped thousands of individuals and families over the past 18 years in creating and reaching their estate planning objectives as well as in navigating the probate process in California to achieve positive outcomes. Schedule a consultation with him today to discuss your estate planning and/or probate goals.