The failure to prepare a will before passing can have significant and far-reaching consequences, both legally and emotionally. When a loved one passes, it can certainly create emotional challenges. But the absence of a well-prepared will can complicate matters further, leading to potentially distressing consequences for family and beneficiaries. Thinking about mortality and estate planning can be uncomfortable. However, not preparing this important document can affect both the distribution of your assets as well as the emotional well-being of those left behind.
Legal Complications and Delays
Without a clear directive from the deceased, the legal process of distributing assets becomes complex and time-consuming. The absence of a will often leads to disputes among family members, requiring the intervention of the court to settle the distribution of the estate. This can result in significant delays and legal expenses, consuming both time and resources that could have been used more effectively by the beneficiaries.
Without a will, the estate may be distributed according to the decision of a court. This distribution may not align with the wishes of the deceased, potentially leaving loved ones or intended beneficiaries without their rightful share. Additionally, distant relatives or individuals with no emotional ties to the deceased may be entitled to a portion of the estate, contrary to the deceased’s intentions.
Emotional Strain and Family Fights
The absence of a clear and comprehensive will can lead to conflicts and tensions among family members, exacerbating the already challenging period of mourning. Disagreements over asset distribution can strain relationships and create rifts that may take years to repair. The emotional toll of navigating these disputes often overshadows the grieving process, leading to prolonged distress and discord within the family.
Unplanned Guardianship for the Kids
A will designates who will assume guardianship of minor children in the event that neither parent is still living. Without a will, the court will make the determination. One of a parent’s greatest responsibilities is naming a trusted guardian to care for their child(ren) in their absence to ensure their well-being. A court will typically choose a guardian based on the next closest kin, but that choice may not be at all what is best for the kids.
Consult Churchill, Quinn, Hamilton & Van Donselaar, Ltd for a Will and Other Estate Planning Needs
Whatever the size of your estate, you should have the final say in how it is distributed. Our professional team has decades of practical experience helping our clients prepare for the future and the security of their loved ones through individualized estate plans, will preparation, trust formation and more. Contact us at 847-223-1500 to begin the process of drafting the most advantageous plan for you and your family.