While you most likely do not want to think about the day when you pass away, creating an estate plan will invariably give you peace of mind. You can also make it easier for your family by sitting down with them and talking about your last wishes.
While it is always wise to have a will, creating one may have advantages and disadvantages. Here are some of the most common pros and cons you might face when estate planning using a will as the primary vehicle.
You choose who receives your property
The ability to choose who receives certain of your assets is the most significant advantage to creating a will. Without this document, the state distributes all of the property included in your estate according to the laws of intestacy, which may not align with your interests. Some of your loved ones may receive nothing, while others that you wish to exclude from inheritance may receive most of your estate.
For example, if you have a lifetime partner you never married, state laws can exclude them from inheriting entirely. Likewise, if you pass away during a divorce, your estranged spouse could receive the whole of your estate.
It may not fully address tax issues
If you do not plan your estate properly, your family could also face hefty state and federal estate and inheritance taxes when you pass away. To avoid this, use a qualified legal professional to ensure that you include the proper provisions in your estate planning documents to minimize tax burdens. You may even find that establishing a trust to distribute your assets after death would benefit your estate more than just having a simple will.
Because it is possible to address the disadvantages of creating a will with some planning, you should not let its potential downsides discourage you from estate planning altogether. Seeking out the support of a dedicated estate planning attorney can help you to understand state law and how it affects you, and draft an estate plan that fulfills your last wishes.