There are essentially 2 ways that you can do Estate Planning:
First, you can do absolutely nothing. This is what I call the “do nothing” plan. You see, the government has in place what are called intestacy statutes which are laws promulgated by the state in which you live (I live in Utah, so it’s the Utah legislature that has done this) that dictates what will happen to your things when you die if you have not drafted a will or a trust (or properly funded your trust– another issue altogether).
So that’s the first plan — do nothing — the government has your back. Oh, and did I mention, that if you do nothing, you may not like what the government says happens to your stuff? You don’t get to control where your house goes, your money goes, your personal items etc.
Think about that for a minute…
So, option B is a little better – I think.
Second, you can take control over your life and your estate plan and you and put into place a will or a trust and you can decide right now where your things go. Yes, indeed – you can make the choice yourself. That’s how estate planning works. You either do it yourself and hope and pray that you do it right. Or, you contact an attorney who knows what they are doing and you pay them to draft your estate plan for you.
Keep in mind that a proper estate plan is more that just a will or a trust.
It would also include a general durable power of attorney and a health care directive or living will. These are essential documents.
Oh, and I think I forgot to mention that if you have young kids, you really want to make sure that you do your estate plan just in case something should happen to both of you as parents — nothing could be worse for a kid than to be put in foster care or worse – placed with a relative that you wouldn’t approve of.
When you’re ready t do your estate plan, I expect you to call our office 801-676-5507 and get your estate and life in order.
Until next time –
Michael R. Anderson, JD