No Will May Lead to a Lengthy Court Process

Thinking about your death is typically not at the top of your to-do list. However, failing to plan for what happens after you die may leave those you love in a bind. A will is the most basic and necessary estate document you need to create. Without it, the state may hold your estate and refuse to release your property to those who may need it most. Learn about the basic function of a will and why dying without one can throw your family into a bad situation that may last years.

The Basic Function of a Will

A will is a legal document that gives those you love your property upon your death. Depending on your local laws, it may have to be filed with the court once you die. A will is your chance to decide who you want to inherit your estate. It also allows you to bypass those you do not want to benefit from your death. Most estate planning attorneys agree that you should create a will as soon as you acquire property or assets. This includes a home, a car and a retirement account.

What a Will Can and Cannot Do

There are some things that a will can and cannot do. First, it can direct the court to who gets your assets after your death. It cannot determine who gets custody of children or animals. While you can leave instructions for guardianship of minor or adult dependent children, separate documents will detail the conditions of these actions. A will can leave specific personal items to those you appoint. No age restriction can be imposed in a will to acquire these items by those you name.

No Will Means the Court Decides

If you die without a will, the court will open intestate proceedings on your behalf. This means that it will announce that you have died and that anyone who believes they have a claim against your estate may file for it. Intestate proceedings also require those who consider themselves heirs to an estate to file evidence that they have a right to your property. For those with the closest blood ties, they will typically inherit first. However, it will also mean that those family members you may not want to inherit may if they can prove they are related to you.

If you want to continue to care for those you love after your death, a will is a necessary document to have on the record. An estate law lawyer in Rolling Meadows, IL can show you the benefits of a will and other estate planning documents to your list that will help you and your family. Consider contacting a firm like Bott & Associates, Ltd., for help.