Not having a Will could exclude your loved ones from receiving a portion of your estate. While it's in most everyone's best interest to establish an estate plan for their family and loved ones, the need may be especially strong in some instances.
Many people think they are too young to worry about signing a valid Will, but we all know that unexpected, tragic events happen each and every day. What would happen to your assets if you were to die suddenly in a car crash, or other tragic accident?
The individuals noted below are unlikely to receive an inheritance through "intestate succession" (meaning there is no valid Will in effect at the time of someone's death).
Some couples stay together for many years before officially tying the knot. Others may simply choose not to follow the marriage tradition. If you and your significant other are not interested in participating in an official marriage, you should consider what you'd like your partner to receive if you were to pass away before they do.
If you have children together or your partner is living in your home, you could leave that loved one drastically unprepared to handle life's expenses if they are not accounted for in a valid Will.
Children born outside of wedlock
For the father who was not married to the mother of his children when they were born, the children will not receive an inheritance unless:
- He thought he was married to the mother at the time, but the marriage was considered void;
- A court establishes his paternity of the child; or
- He has made it known that he accepted paternity (in writing)
A grandchild only receives an intestate inheritance if the parent (the Decedent's child) is no longer alive. With an estate plan, you could designate an inheritance specifically to your grandchild and even include specific qualifiers along with the inheritance, such as restricting its use to educational purposes only.
Protect your family
Talking to an estate planning attorney can help you learn more about addressing many unique situations, such as how inheritance laws address adopted and special needs family members. The assets you own may have created a unique situation of which you are not even aware of. Call the knowledgeable estate planning attorneys at VanNess & VanNess, P.A. to discuss your particular needs today.