Understandably, you may not want to plan for the day on which you will part from your loved ones. However, making an estate plan is arguably one of the most important things you can do in your lifetime. This is because an estate plan allows you to ensure that your loved ones are taken care of in the way you most desire. Follow along to find out the consequences of dying without creating an estate plan and how a proficient Butler County will preparation attorney at Heritage Elder Law & Estate Planning, LLC can help you avoid this.
What happens if I die without creating an estate plan?
Essentially, if you die without a will or other estate plan, then your property may undergo intestate succession. More specifically, the state of Pennsylvania’s intestacy laws may dictate how your property is distributed amongst your heirs. The general guidelines of who may inherit your property in the state of Pennsylvania read as follows:
- Your surviving spouse may receive all your property if you have no surviving children or parents.
- Your surviving children may receive all your property if you have no surviving spouse.
- Your surviving parents may receive all your property if you have no surviving spouse or children.
- Your surviving siblings may receive all your property if you have no surviving spouse, children, or parents.
- Your surviving paternal and maternal grandparents may split your property if you have no surviving spouse, children, parents, or siblings.
- Your surviving uncles, aunts, and their children and grandchildren may split your property if you have no surviving spouse, children, parents, siblings, or grandparents.
- Your surviving spouse may receive the first $30,000 of your property plus one-half of the remaining property and your surviving children or parents may receive the rest.
- The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania may receive all your property if no one mentioned above survives you.
What can I do to have my estate plan avoid intestacy?
It is not enough to simply create an estate plan. Rather, it is also necessary to ensure that your estate plan is valid and enforceable in the state of Pennsylvania. This is because an invalid and unenforceable estate plan may just have your property undergo the exact thing you were avoiding, intestate succession. This means that you must ensure the following:
- You must have two adult witnesses present at the signing of your estate planning documents.
- You must ensure that you are of sufficient mental capacity to establish estate planning documents.
- You must ensure that you are not being wrongfully influenced when establishing estate planning documents.
- You must ensure that you follow the state’s other estate planning provisions.
You must not question your instinct to retain the services of one of the talented Butler County estate planning and probate attorneys. Our team at Heritage Elder Law & Estate Planning, LLC will work to determine which legal option is best for you.