Have you heard that you should create an Estate Plan? Have you asked why? Why do I need to create a Will or Trust? What is an Estate Plan?
Depending on your situation, you might not feel like you need to do so and that’s ok. If you decide you don’t need to create a Will or Trust, you should at least understand what you are facing in order to make an informed decision.
Everybody has a different family dynamic from the next person. It is this dynamic that changes what will happen if you die without a Will or Trust, which is called Intestate Succession. Idaho law describes the Intestate Estate as any part of the estate of a decedent (deceased person) not effectively disposed of by his or her Will. Idaho Code 15-2-101.
Since it is High School Graduation season, in this post, we will cover a single person without children. What will happen to your estate, or your stuff when you die. But, Estate Planning also covers what will happen if you become incapacitated or incompetent, so we will cover that too.
First, without a spouse or children, all of your financial assets will be divided equally between your legal parents. Mom receives half and Dad receives half. This is still true even if Mom and Dad have remarried other people. For some, that is a very clear cut understanding and that is what they would want to have happen. For many others, myself included, that is the last thing that they would want to have happen.
With intestate succession, the main idea to remember is that your wishes and wants are disregarded. They do not have a voice. What is written in the law is how things will be divided.
If mom and dad both died before you, your brothers and sisters would share equally and maybe your nieces and nephews would receive an inheritance as well.
If this is ok with you, maybe having a Will is not necessary. Just remember, your wishes and wants do not matter in Intestate Succession.
So, what is the point of planning if Idaho already creates a plan for you? Answer, Idaho’s plan is limited. It only covers death and assets. There is more to planning than that.
Right now is high school graduation time. Most of these high school graduates have recently turned age 18, or they are about to. Once you are an adult, your parents are no longer your legal guardian. As you no longer have a legal guardian, you don’t automatically have a power of attorney any more. Now you need one to make financial or health care decisions for you if you are incapacitated for any length of time. Ahh…. The joys of being an adult.
Part of your Estate Planning package should include Powers of Attorney. These come into play if you become incapacitated or incompetent. They represent you in financial situations or health care situations. I don’t know about you, but I want someone I know and trust to make financial or medical decisions for me if I can’t. Imagine needing a Guardian because an accident left you unable to care for yourself. Would you want to choose who will care for you if you can’t do it yourself?
If you fail to plan and you end up needing a guardian, again anyone can apply for the job. These people can then seek reimbursement from you for the court costs and attorney’s fees spent.
Everything we plan for will eventually need to be addressed. The planning we do now serves three purposes; 1) limits those who can represent you to those people that you choose, 2) limits costs from reimbursement and fees paid out, and 3) limits time spent in court. This last one is a valuable consideration.
So, if you are comfortable with your assets being distributed as mentioned above, you are willing to roll the dice that nothing will ever put you in the situation of needing a power of attorney or a guardian, and you do not shy away from the extra costs involved, then you might not need to create a Will or Trust. Your call.
Schedule a conversation with Justin Jeppesen to take the first step towards creating your complete estate plan! With our Free Initial Consultation we help our clients explore their own situations and plan for their futures. If you have more questions, we'd love to help!
Contact Jeppesen Law now: (208) 477-1785.