What Happens If You Create an Ineffective Estate Plan–Or Do Not Have One at All

On Behalf of | Mar 31, 2020 | estate planning


Estate planning is essential for your future and the future of those to whom you wish to leave your assets. Having a well-thought-out estate plan can make a huge difference in how your assets are handled upon your death. If your estate plan is ineffective, or worse–you do not have one at all, there can be serious implications.

The California estate planning attorneys at Galanti and Copenhaver, Inc. can help you create an effective estate plan. Our attorneys have many years of experience setting up estate plans for California residents. We can help you identify your estate planning needs and help you come up with an estate plan that suits your best interests. We can also help you modify certain aspects of your plans to make them more effective. Contact our office today to schedule a consultation to learn more about what we can do to help.

There May Be Negative Consequences for Your Beneficiaries

If you do not have an estate plan or the one that you do have is insufficient, your beneficiaries will likely face the consequences. In these cases, the courts will typically decide who gets what when it comes to your assets. This process can take a long time and may result in substantial legal fees. 

By failing to have a proper estate plan, you are essentially giving up your right to decide how your assets should be distributed upon your death. Going this route can also cause feuds and issues within your family, as your family members may have to fight against each other in court for a share of your assets.

There may also be substantial tax issues depending on the size of your estate. Having an effective estate plan can help to resolve some of the potential tax-related issues with your estate.

You Effectively Lose Your Right to Decide Who Should Become the Guardian of Your Minor Children

If you have young kids, having an effective estate plan is especially important. If you die without a will or any type of estate plan, the court may need to determine who should have custody of your children. Once you have children, it becomes even more crucial to plan ahead to ensure that they are taken care of in the event you or you and your spouse pass away unexpectedly. If you have a proper estate plan in place to address the guardianship of your minor children, you can make sure that they will be cared for by a person whom you trust.

Without a Proper Estate Plan, You May Lose Your Right to Choose How Healthcare Decisions Are Handled

Another reason it is vital to have an effective estate plan is that without one, important choices regarding your medical care may not be made in accordance with your wishes. Advance health care directives, otherwise known as a health care power of attorney or living will, are documents in which you can set forth your wishes regarding end of life medical treatment and how certain medical decisions will be made.

If you become incapacitated or are otherwise unable to make your own health care decisions, an advance health care directive can be used as a way to guide your medical treatment. You will have the ability to choose a trusted individual to handle questions that arise regarding your medical care, and you will also be able to state your wishes in the documents to ensure that they are followed.

For example, you may want to include whether or not you want extraordinary measures taken to prolong your life, such as being placed on life support. This is a personal decision and is something to think about as you set up your estate plans. Leaving a medical decision like that to be handled by just anyone can result in an undesirable situation for you.

If You Do Not Have a Sufficient Estate Plan, You May Lose Your Right to Privacy

Without an estate plan, or with an insufficient estate plan, your estate may pass through probate. Probate is the process of estate distribution done in the California court system.

Not only is probate expensive and a process that may take a long time for final resolution, but also it opens up your finances and asset information to become public record. Many people want their financial information to remain private, even after their death, in order to protect their beneficiaries and family members. Without a proper estate plan, this information becomes public and can cause problems and fighting between your beneficiaries or family members. Contact us today at (707) 867-0787 or fill out our online contact form to see how we can help you.