In Tennessee, estate planning is frequently left until later because people believe there is time to address it in the future. Putting it off, as many do, can be a major mistake. This is true regardless of a person’s age, physical condition, how much property they own and the size of their family.
Younger people are frequently viewed as ignoring the importance of creating even a basic estate plan, but older people are also prone to avoiding it. One way to convince people of its importance is to emphasize what can happen if they do not have an estate plan. Dying without a will—intestate—can be challenging to those left behind. It can even result in acrimony and dispute among family members. Knowing the law for intestate succession provides a window into the issues that can come up.
How is property divided if a person dies without a will?
If a person dies intestate, their property will go to their relatives in a specific order whether that is what they might have wanted or not. The living spouse will get the entire estate if there were no children. If the decedent did have children, the living spouse will get one-third of the estate or the child’s share, whichever is more. The part of the estate that does not go to the spouse will go to any children the decedent had. If there is no surviving spouse, the decedent’s children will get the entire estate.
When a decedent did not have a surviving spouse or surviving children, the estate will go to their parent or parents. If there is no surviving spouse, children or parents, siblings will get the proceeds. It will then go to grandparents if there is no spouse, children, parents or siblings.
Failing to have an estate plan of any kind goes beyond their property. If the person had children under 18, they might want to name a guardian in the unfortunate circumstance in which they are gone. Not doing so will leave the child at the mercy of the law and could end up living with a person with whom the deceased parent would not have wanted them to live. There are many other reasons for which a person should want to craft an estate plan.
Understanding the importance of estate planning with legal guidance
People who are just starting out in their adult life in their 20s and 30s and have only recently started a family might believe that estate planning can wait. This, however, is exactly when it is imperative to have an estate plan as their loved ones are younger and more vulnerable. In fact, it is crucial for anyone regardless of their age, job, family situation and business circumstances.
For advice with how to create an estate plan and what options are right for them, it is useful to have advice from caring and experienced professionals. It does not need to be a complicated procedure and having personal attention and guidance from those who will focus on a person’s needs can make all of the difference. Before making the mistake of not having an estate plan, it is wise to discuss the goals with those who understand these matters and take the basic steps to be fully prepared for the future.