This is another in a series of posts based on an article I read about the importance of estate planning. I found the article to be very informative, and I am reposting it with the permission of the author. I hope you find it useful.
Reason #1 – Avoidance of Intestacy
When a person dies without a will, that person dies “intestate.” Most, if not all, states have laws that govern the distribution of a decedent’s estate when the decedent dies without a will. In this instance, a court would look to the intestate statute of its state and simply apply the applicable scheme in the law to the decedent’s familial circumstance. If the decedent dies with a will (and, if applicable, a trust) that properly distributes all of the decedent’s assets under its terms, then the intestate statute does not apply. If, however, there are assets that are not disposed of under the decedent’s will, then, in most cases, those assets would be distributed according to the intestate statute. The goal of a well-drafted estate plan is to ensure that all of a decedent’s assets pass to beneficiaries under the terms of the governing documents (either the will itself or under a trust that may receive the assets upon death). Additionally, the distribution of assets under an estate plan is typically more efficient than if a court is required to apply the intestate statute. Finally, people generally take comfort in knowing that they have a voice in how their assets are distributed after they die, versus having a court step in and apply the intestate law.