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Does everyone really need a will or estate plan?

On Behalf of | Sep 12, 2022 | Estate Planning

If someone dies without a will, Wisconsin state law has clear rules for the descent of their property. The existence of intestate succession laws makes some people think incorrectly that they don’t need to bother with the creation of an actual estate plan. After all, the law will ensure that their closest family members get to inherit their property from their estate.

However, dying without a will means leaving a lot to chance. You never know how your family will work with one another following your death. The less specific your estate plan is, the more likely your loved ones are to fight intensely over your most valuable property.

The truth is that almost everyone would benefit from creating an estate plan. Rather than waiting for a major life event to create a will or other estate planning documents, it is better to create them as soon as possible for your lifelong protection.

You don’t need dependents to benefit from an estate plan

One of the biggest mistakes people have when it comes to estate planning is that they make the process all about other people. They think that as long as they don’t have a spouse or any children to support, that the creation of an estate plan is unnecessary.

However, estate plans aren’t just about bequeathing property to others when you die. They are also about protecting the person creating documents. Even 18-year-olds can no longer count on their parents to handle their medical care. Their right to medical privacy prevents their parents or other family members from accessing their medical records or making choices on their behalf.

Only a spouse or someone listed in medical power of attorney documents or advanced directives will be able to engage in medical decision-making on behalf of an incapacitated individual over 18 years of age. Anyone not yet married who is a legal adult will typically benefit from authorizing someone, such as a family member, to handle their medical decisions and finances until they recover.

Individuals who have significant personal property, dependent family members or unique wishes for their legacies may also recognize that thorough estate planning followed by frequent reviews and updates to the documents as necessary will help them achieve their goals. Recognizing that it is likely time for you to create an estate plan is the first step toward protecting yourself people you love.