Only a small percentage of American families may be enormously wealthy; however, this should not stop anyone from drafting a Will, as this legal contract will allow them to specifically state which asset or thing of value they intend to pass on to their spouse and/or children. A Will specifically states which asset or thing of value will go to the spouse and the children. Assets include anything that has value, or anything that a parent holds dear and precious. The failure or the refusal to draft a Will is one of the reasons why some of those who face death fail to make sure that the financial future of those they will leave behind is secure. An asset may be a piece of antique furniture, a vehicle, jewelry, bank account, life insurance, a pension plan, a small piece of land, a small business, a painting or anything to which value may be assigned. If a person has one or a number of these, but fails to express through a Will his or her intent of leaving a part or all of his/her properties to someone, then it shall be the court that shall decide who will inherit the properties left behind. The basis of this authority of the court is the Law of Intestacy; this law follows a predefined plan of distribution that is based on the laws of the state where the owner of the estate resides.
Thus, failure to draft a Will shall allow a court to make the following decisions on behalf of the owner of an estate, asset or anything that has value. If the owner is:
- Single and without a child, then all properties and assets shall be given to the parents of the deceased. However, if the parents are already dead, his/her siblings will be named as heirs.
- Single but has a child. All properties and assets go to the child; if there is more than one child, all the children will share everything evenly.
- Married but without a child. In some states, a spouse would be named sole inheritor; in other states, however, only a third or half of the properties will be given to the spouse, while the remainder shall be given to the parents of the deceased. In case the parents predecease the owner, then to his/her living siblings.
- Married and with child. Half or a third of the properties will be given by the court to the spouse, while the remainder shall be placed under the child’s name or equally distributed among the children if there is more than one child.
- If an owner, before his/her death, was able to stipulate in his/her Will his/her intent to leave a bigger share of his/her estate to his/her child who has gotten married and also has children,then this shall be recognized and allowed by the court.
As explained by Tucson tax lawyers, Drafting a Will and Estate Planning are “remarkably important steps to take in order to ensure that your loved ones will be provided for in the event that anything unforeseen should happen to you. Done well, estate planning can be a powerful tool for providing security and stability to your loved ones as well as a way to minimize potential tax burdens.”