Trusted Southern Ohio Attorneys

What happens if I don’t have an estate plan?

On Behalf of | Apr 26, 2024 | Estate Planning

Estate planning is an important step for anyone who wants to ensure that their loved ones are cared for after they’re gone. Without clear directions from you, however, your family may face a variety of struggles. What should you know about what happens if you pass away without a plan?

Without a plan, the court decides what happens to your possessions.

When someone dies without an estate plan – also called dying intestate – they leave decisions about their estate in the hands of the court. The law outlines who can inherit from someone who dies intestate and how much they will inherit. Those legal definitions may leave out loved ones who are important to you.

Without a plan, managing your finances and health can become challenging.

If you become incapacitated without a plan in place, your family might have to go through a stressful and expensive court process to manage your affairs. A durable power of attorney and healthcare directive are vital parts of an estate plan that allow you to outline your wishes and name someone you trust to address your health and finances if you cannot make those decisions.

Without a plan, the court may define the future of your family.

If you have minor children, not having an estate plan can create uncertainty about their future care. Without a will naming a guardian, the court decides who will raise your kids. Unfortunately, the time it takes the court to make that decision can create a stressful period for your child. A lack of a plan could also mean someone you would not have picked may become responsible for their care. With a will, however, you can name a guardian for your child that you trust to support them as they grow.

Thankfully, with a plan in place, you can keep these struggles from impacting your family during an already difficult time. Estate planning can seem overwhelming, but it also lets you make sure your wishes for your assets and loved ones are known.