Have you ever just sat around and spent a few hours thinking about your own mortality? Sure, you know on an instinctual level that your time on Planet Earth is finite, but do you ever just think about what happens when you die? If you’re like most of us, the answer to that question is probably a resounding “no!” After all, who has time to wallow in such thoughts when there’s so much life to live and so much that still needs to get done? On the other hand, though, if your focus on life and the business of today has caused you to neglect things as important as estate planning, then that’s a problem. You see, everyone needs to have at least a Last Will and Testament in place. Fortunately, your Atlanta estate planning attorney can help you with your planning needs.
Official estimates suggest that only about 45% of all Americans over the age of eighteen have made out their wills. That abysmal number suggests that most of us really aren’t anywhere near as prepared for death as we need to be. Sadly, that estimate is one of the most optimistic. Others suggest that more than 60% of us never bother to make out those wills. That can create a whole host of problems for your loved ones when you pass away.
What Happens When You Die Without a Will?
Here’s the sad but honest truth: if you die without a will tomorrow, your entire estate will be settled not in accordance with your wishes but in accordance with Georgia’s intestate laws. Those are the laws established to govern the distribution of assets for decedents who die without a Last Will and Testament. The law sets out very precise instructions to determine which heirs get what percentage of your assets. As you might expect, that could leave your estate being carved up in ways you might never have imagined possible.
In some cases, the absence of a will can lead to conflict among your surviving family members, as relatives argue over how you would have wanted your belongings distributed. You could end up with an incompetent administrator appointed by the court. Ultimately, it could even lead to legal challenges as disgruntled relatives sue one another in an attempt to sort out the mess that many intestate estates leave in their wake.
Why Do People Fail to Create Wills?
You may think that you have some very sound reasons for avoiding the will creation process. Perhaps you’re in your early twenties or thirties and convinced that it’s just too early to start thinking about such things. You may be childless and figure that there’s no need to create a will since you have no heirs. Perhaps you just don’t own that many things and figure that your small estate isn’t worth the trouble. You might just assume that there’s no need for a will since you’re currently healthy.
On the surface, those are all seemingly legitimate arguments. When you examine them more closely, however, none of them really hold up to scrutiny. The fact is that you’re not going to be young forever. You might have children or a spouse someday. Your belongings are likely to increase in number as the years go by. Finally, you have no guarantee that you will be as healthy tomorrow as you feel today. In fact, you don’t even have any guarantee that you’ll be alive tomorrow, and that might mean that you missed your only real opportunity to declare your last wishes.
Today is the Day
As is true with so much in life, today is always the best day to do something that you know you must do. Life is unpredictable and there is always a chance that you won’t get to finish that urgent task you put off until another day. If that involves your estate, then your failure to make out your will could cost your heirs time and money at a time when they can least afford it. The best way to avoid such unforeseen complications is to address the matter sooner rather than later.
An experienced Atlanta estate planning attorney can help you ensure that your Last Will and Testament is created in a way that protects your interests and secures your wishes. Moreover, it can provide an estate planning foundation on which you can build as your financial and family circumstances change over time. You may not have a wife or children today, but that doesn’t mean that you cannot write a will that envisions the possibility of such heirs in the future.
You might also have thought that you simply cannot afford the costs associated with retaining an attorney to create a will. That may not be the case either! The fact is that most people discover that the actual costs associated with using an attorney for the creation of an estate plan are almost always lower than they envisioned, and definitely less than the costs that your family can incur if you die without the right estate planning documents.
Of course, the very fact that you’re reading this is evidence that at least some part of you understands that you should have a will. Your subconscious knows that you need to protect your family and your interests, and it’s just looking for confirmation of that truth. The truth is that you really do need a Last Will and Testament and there’s no time like the present to get it done.
At Fouts Law Group, LLC, our experienced legal team understands how anxious people can get when they consider matters like estate planning. No one really wants to face his or her own mortality, and sometimes the creation of a Last Will and Testament can feel like an admission that your life will have an expiration date. In reality, however, it is an essential part of protecting your family and your estate. If you would like to know more about how we can help you to get your will and other estate planning measures in order, contact us online or give us a call today at (678) 242-8344.
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