That estate planning is only for the rich and extremely wealthy individuals who have lots of assets and big properties to leave behind is one wrong thought that so many Americans have. Truth is, anyone who owns anything can (and probably should) draft a will where he/she can specifically name the person/s to whom he/she wants to leave behind his/her assets. These assets do not need to have huge monetary values, even vehicle, jewelry, furniture, savings account, life insurance and other things that have value, no matter how big or little, can be included in a will. Ever thought of an old watch, or a piece of jewelry, like a gold pendant or ring that has been handed down from one generation to another? Such is what drafting a will is all about – it makes sure that a thing of value gets handed down to whoever an owner wants to specifically receive it after his/her death.
Estate planning starts with the drafting of a will, where a person, who is legally known as a testator, can name the inheritor/s of his/her assets; he/she can also name his/her preferred guardian for his/her child; his/her health-care proxy, or the person who shall be making medical decision on his/her behalf in the event that he/she gets incapacitated; and, the executor or the person who shall take charge of the administration of his/her estate and who will carry out his/her wishes that are contained in the will. This executor will also have the duty of paying all debts left behind by the testator using the money earned from liquidating any asset or property of the testator. The amount left after all debts have been settled will be distributed to the named inheritors.
In the case of a person who has properties but who keeps own postponing the drafting of an estate plan eventually dies without having drafted one, it shall be the state which will decide who gets his/her assets and who shall serve as his/her child’s guardian. This authority of the state is based on the Law of Intestacy.
Some states differ in what their Law of Intestacy stipulates; however, majority usually divide all assets equally among the spouse and the children. With regard to those who die without having been married and without having a child, his/her assets would usually be distributed by the state among his/her blood relatives.
According to the law firm Russo, Russo & Slania, P.C., estate planning is a remarkably important step to take in order to ensure that your loved ones will be provided for in the event that anything unforeseen should happen to you. This will also guarantee that your properties will be distributed to your chosen inheritors and not to the ones the state will choose due to your failure to draft one before your death.Read More