One of the most common statements I hear from young parents and professionals is that they just don’t own enough property or have the assets to justify spending the money to do any estate planning. I often hear, “I do want to get some estate planning in place, but I’m just not there yet.” In reality, everyone, whether married or single, wealthy or not, has the need for at least a simple will, powers of attorney, and assistance in utilizing nonprobate transfer laws to avoid probate.
Many of us struggle with facing our own mortality. However, ignoring estate planning until you’re older or own more assets is costly to your loved ones and can cause you unneeded stress and worry now. The untimely death of celebrity Luke Perry reminds us that our life can change quickly and it’s never too early to make sure our estate plan is in place. Sources report that because Luke Perry did appear to have an estate plan in place, there was no prolonged battle over removing him from life support and his children are taken care of financially. In the event of your untimely death, not having the appropriate documents in place will be more costly to your loved ones than the expense of working with an estate planning attorney now.
For example, many families are headed by unmarried couples today. If you are unmarried and you own your home or other real property in your individual name, without the benefit of a will, those assets would transfer to your heirs-at-law upon your death. In Missouri that means the property would pass to your children. If your children are too young to own property at the time of your death, a court action would be required to appoint a conservator to hold and manage that property until your children are old enough to receive it. That conservator may or may not be the person you would have chosen had you died with a will.
Some day you might need a more elaborate estate plan. But before you say, “I’m not there yet,” give us a call at (417) 882-2828 to discuss how we can help you protect your assets in the meantime.