Many individuals across Washington prefer to follow a plan. They plan their workday, their weekend and even their weekly meals. Planning ahead is something that makes life easier. However, current research indicates that while many Americans do recognize the need for planning, they fail to do this in the area of estate planning.
In fact, research indicates that over 50 percent of Americans have not created a will. While they may have thought about who should inherit their assets, no formal action has taken place to make this happen. As a result, if one dies without a will, beneficiaries are established based upon applicable state laws.
If the individual is married with children, typically assets will be granted to the spouse and children. However, for unmarried individuals without children, things do not always go as anticipated. It is possible that assets will be distributed to individuals with whom the deceased did not have a loving relationship. For example, the individual may want a specific friend or relative to inherit upon death; however, without a will, the courts will grant assets to the next of kin. Without a will, the courts do not have a way of determining what the individual’s desires and intentions were.
Each individual has the right to decide who should inherit his or her assets upon death. However, many Washington residents do not take advantage of this right. Rather than creating a will as a part of estate planning, they inadvertently leave this area to the discretion of the courts.
Source: U.S. News & World Report, “Estate Planning Is Important for People Without Children“, Debbie Carlson, Feb. 16, 2017