Estate planning is one of those things that people generally assume they have time to handle in the future. Very few people have an accurate idea of how long their lives will last or when they might experience medical incapacitation. Waiting too long to create your will could leave both you and the people you love extremely vulnerable in the event that something unexpected happens.
Whether you get into a car accident that leaves you in a coma or you experience a sudden medical event like a stroke that claims your life, not having an estate plan or will in place could wind up causing significant hardship for the people that you care about most in the world.
An estate plan allows for the smooth transfer of assets
If you have a comprehensive estate plan or will on record, either the executor of your estate or the Connecticut probate courts will know exactly what to do with your assets, debts and accounts according to your wishes.
More importantly, having either a designation for the account to transfer to another individual in the event of your death or a will that allocates the contents of the account to someone specific ensures that the people who depend on you won’t be left without access to critical financial assets in the weeks and months after you die.
If you die without a will, there could be months of waiting for those assets. Depending on the circumstances, the people who matter most to you might not ever receive your possessions.
Intestate succession recognizes very few informal relationships
Perhaps you have always had a toxic relationship with your parents which prompted you to avoid getting married. Your live-in partner shares equally in your household expenses, but your bank account and the house itself are in your name.
If something were to happen to you, your partner will be absolutely vulnerable to the wishes of your family members, no matter how estranged you have become from them. Intestate succession, which is the process of allocating assets to people in the event that a deceased person does not have a last will, prioritizes the rights of spouses, children and parents, as well as other close family members, e.g., siblings.
Those without a biological or legal connection to you likely will have no right to inherit anything or even to retain tenancy of a shared property if you don’t have a will in place.
Estate plans take pressure off your loved ones when you are incapacitated
Estate planning doesn’t just deal with the distribution of your assets. It also provides a plan for incapacitation, e.g., a coma, which would prevent you from making financial, legal or medical decisions on your own behalf.
By drafting and signing advance medical directives and powers of attorney documents, you can empower those whom you trust to take action and make decisions in your best interests. This has the added benefit of guiding those decisions and removing the stress from the decision-makers because they know exactly the choices you would want them to make.
The sooner you create an estate plan and the more thorough you are in doing so, the better protected your wishes and loved ones will be.