Prince did not leave a will and many, many relatives showed up to stake a claim.
Not having a will can create some difficult situations for your loved ones and some of them are not expected, according to Arizona Central in “Here’s why you don’t want to die without leaving a will.” For example, in Arizona, an estate creditor can step in and become your personal representative after death, if you haven’t designated someone to administer your estate and your family members don’t step up to be involved.
Are you still not convinced? Without a will, you have no say in who inherits your money and possessions, which will be distributed according to the laws of your state.
Here are some tips to help get your estate plan started:
Work with an estate planning attorney. Using an attorney provides accountability, ensures that your wishes are reflected in the estate plan and makes sure that your will is deemed valid by the court. All too often, online documents are found to be deficient, declared invalid and the family is left with the laws of the state.
Name an executor. Your will should include the name of an executor, who will be responsible for handling your financial affairs after you die. She will manage your assets, identify what bills need to be paid, file state and federal tax returns and keep records of anything done on behalf of your estate.
Keep your will in a safe location. Make sure your executor has a copy and knows where it is. Tell your family where it is.
Don’t forget a residuary clause. If you forget to include any assets, a residuary clause will name someone who will receive them.
Don’t forget other important documents. That means a power of attorney and an advance directive. The advance directive spells out what kind of medical treatment you would want, if you are unable to communicate. Power of attorney gives a person you name the authority to act on your behalf.
What if my family fights a lot? Your best bet will be to name a private fiduciary to act as your personal representative. That way, no one can be accused of playing favorites, and a family history of sibling rivalry won’t undermine your wishes.
An estate planning attorney can advise you in creating an estate plan that fits your unique circumstances.
Reference: Arizona Central (June 21, 2019) “Here’s why you don’t want to die without leaving a will”