As challenging as estate planning may seem, it’s something you must do if you want to make sure your loved ones are properly cared for after you pass away. Although every estate plan is unique in the documents it includes, a will is one component that most people can benefit from having. Drafting a will allows you to remain in control of how your affairs are handled upon your death. If there isn’t one for the court to refer to once you’re gone, your final wishes may not be honored, and your family could face unnecessary stress. Below is an overview of what happens without a will in place.
How an Estate Is Settled if a Will Hasn’t Been Left Behind
Distribution of Assets
In the absence of a will, your assets will be distributed according to Connecticut’s intestacy laws. This means you won’t have any say in how your property is allocated. Instead, it will be inherited depending on whom you’re survived by. If you’re married with children, your estate will be split amongst your spouse and descendants. If you don’t have any descendants, your parents may receive a portion of your assets. Should you pass away without a surviving spouse, children, or parents, your siblings and next closest blood relations will be in line to inherit your property.
Guardianship of Children
One of the most important steps in the estate planning process is deciding who will raise your minor children in the event of your untimely death. A will provides the chance to appoint a guardian of your choosing. Without this legal document to express your wishes on guardianship, the court will decide who should take care of your kids. While judges are required to make their ruling in the best interests of the children, they may select a guardian you wouldn’t necessarily want.
With a will, you can also name an executor for your estate. This is the person who will oversee the management of your affairs and ensure your final wishes are carried out. Administering an estate is a big responsibility that should only be given to someone you trust. When there isn’t a will to tell the court who you prefer for this role, they will place someone in the position. In turn, they could end up choosing an executor you wouldn’t want to have access to your personal information.
If you have yet to create a will, contact Stuart R. Norman Jr., an attorney in Jewett City, CT, with more than 40 years of legal experience. He can walk you through the estate planning process from start to finish and will ensure you’ve put together a comprehensive plan that adequately protects your assets and loved ones. Numerous residents throughout New London County have relied on his expertise in this area of law to help them gain peace of mind for the future. Call (860) 376-0069 to schedule a consultation, or visit his website to learn more about the estate planning services he offers.