Contrary to common belief, if a person dies without a will or trust, the government will not take their assets. Depending on the state and its laws, the assets will follow a “formula” where they would be distributed to their parents, children, siblings, or others. Besides the distribution of the estate, there are other issues as well such as burial or cremation? What type of casket? Which cemetery? How should the deceased be dressed?
Processing a loved one’s death can be very emotional and having to make decisions regarding what to do with their body can make the situation even more frustrating and upsetting. All of this gets magnified when these decisions must be made jointly by multiple people. What happens if they do not come to an agreement? Who decides?
Recently a father passed away without an estate plan and without instructions regarding what to do with his body. Survived by his three children, his oldest son was appointed as the executor of the estate. In this case, the executor made the decision to cremate their father’s body which then lead to more questions and decisions… Who would get his ashes? Where, if at all, would they be scattered? Now three people once again had to come to an agreement on what decisions to make. Although they were able to come to an agreement, the process was not easy.
It is a quick and easy process to create an estate plan and make all of these decisions in advance. It is important to consider your loved ones and not place them in a position where they have to guess what you would have wanted during this already challenging time. By planning your estate, you are helping your family save a lot of time, stress, and money. Do them and yourself a favor by creating an estate plan ahead of time.