Sudden loss: Dealing with Estates, Wills and Probate

Losing someone you cherish is never easy, and it can be made all that much more difficult if it was by an accident that they didn’t cause themselves. Every day, people get into terrible accidents that result in serious injury or even death. Common examples of this include car crashes, slip and falls, workplace accidents, medical malpractice, bicycle accidents, and much more. When someone takes the life of another too soon, and due to their own recklessness, it can leave surviving family members of the victim in immense anguish.

When someone passes away without any planning, it can make matters worse for those they left behind. For instance, someone who did not write an estate plan may have their estate handled by the court system and distributed based on state intestacy laws. So essentially, without proper planning, someone’s assets will be taken over, and there is no guarantee that the wishes of the deceased will be followed. And because the process of distributing a decedent’s estate tends to get caught up in court, it can leave beneficiaries without the financial support they need during such a difficult time. As a personal injury lawyer from Cohen & Cohen, P.C. can attest, here are more reasons why someone should start writing their estate plan now:

  • You get to choose who you want to receive certain assets
  • You can appoint someone as executor, who will handle your estate after you have passed away
  • You can organize assets in such a way that some can be donated to charity, given to a relative with special needs, or protected from estate taxes
  • You can make plans for who would care for your minor children or pets
  • Your estate stays private, as it reduces the chances of probate (which is a public process and viewable to the public)
  • To protect family wealth and prepare future generations to receive this wealth
  • To confirm that your property will be distributed to loved ones how you wish

Losing a relative is never easy, and to ensure your legacy is passed down to those you love the most, an estate plan is strongly recommended. Tragically, not every person is able to live a full life, and when they depart sooner than expected because they were the victim in an accident, it can leave friends and family in a state of emotional turmoil. It can add more pain to the situation if the decedent’s assets get clogged up in probate and are distributed without consideration for family dynamics and other nuances. For these reasons and more, most people prefer to have a legally-binding estate plan before they pass on so that their legacy can continue how they would have wanted.

Those who want to make sure their legacy is not handled by the court system are encouraged to start writing their estate plan as soon as possible. Even while in the midst of their grief, loved ones are at the very least going to be grateful that plans were set forth ahead of time, as they won’t have to stand by as their relative’s legacy is scrutinized and decided by the court.

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