Not having a last will and testament can cause a number of problems.
You have thought about creating a last will and testament.
You even know what you want each of your loved ones to inherit.
Surely, this is sufficient for now.
You can formalize it later.
According to a recent San Antonio Express-News article titled “Thy will be done (and you really should get it drawn up right now),” you should not delay the creation of your last will and testament.
You never know when you will die.
Let me provide an example.
There was a woman who spoke with her father about his estate planning wishes.
Although the plan had been discussed, her father did not formalize (i.e., legally execute) his estate plan.
One week later, he was in the hospital.
Her aunts brought a lawsuit against her father regarding his work as the trustee for the trust of their own father.
Because her father had no power of attorney, this woman had to seek a conservatorship from the court just to pay the hospital for services provided to her father.
In the end, he died without a last will and testament.
What were the consequences of his not having a last will and testament?
The estate took two years to settle in probate.
The $500,000 value of the estate disappeared quickly through both probate proceedings and the long litigation.
This financial cost of having no estate plan is steep.
The emotional and relational cost can be even greater.
Unfortunately, a 2016 Gallup poll found only 44 percent of Americans have a last will and testament.
Of those over age 65, nearly 32 percent do not have a last will and testament.
The numbers are even more frightening when you consider the number of individuals who simply use an online will service.
In many cases, this DIY estate planning leaves people in the same situation as not having a will.
To ensure your affairs are in order, you should work with an experienced estate planning attorney.
Take steps to finish your estate planning as soon as possible.
Reference: San Antonio Express-News (March 9, 2020) “Thy will be done (and you really should get it drawn up right now)”