The Consequences of Not Planning for Your Death
Millions of Americans have not taken the time to sit down and create a comprehensive estate
plan. In addition, a shocking number of Americans have also not sat down and discussed their
funeral and/or burial wishes with loved ones. If you are one of those people, stop and consider
the consequences of not doing these things now, before it’s too late.
Funeral Wishes: If you do not express your wishes to your loved ones now, they will be
forced to make decisions based on what they think you would want. This would be
difficult enough under the best of circumstances, but these decisions will have to be made
under extreme duress in the midst of the shock and grief they are feeling surrounding
your sudden death.
Funeral Expense: If you did not pre-pay for a funeral service, your loved ones will also
need to come up with the money to pay for your service. Many factors can impact the
cost of a funeral service, but as of 2012 your family can expect to pay from $5,000-
$10,000 for the average funeral. Setting aside some money to pay for this expense can
relieve some of the stress on your loved one at that difficult time. One way to do this is
to set up a Funeral Trust that sets aside a sum of money to pay for those expenses. It
gives your loved ones immediate access to funds to pay for the services and relieves any
financial burden they may have to assume if you haven’t set aside money to pay for your
Bank Accounts: If you did not think ahead and convert accounts to pay on death, other
forms of joint accounts, or in some cases set up a trust, even your spouse will not likely
have access to the funds right after your death.
Assets: Just as with bank accounts, other assets such as your home, vehicles or
investment accounts will not be accessible to even your spouse if you failed to plan
ahead. These assets will become part of your estate. Your estate will typically need to go
through the legal process known as probate. Estate assets cannot be released to anyone
until the probate court authorizes the release which can take months or longer.
Divisions of Your Assets: If you failed to leave behind a Last Will and Testament, your
estate is considered to be intestate. An intestate estate will be divided according to your
state’s intestate succession laws. Anyone not considered a legal heir will not receive
anything from your estate, despite your wishes to the contrary. This usually includes a
partner to whom you were not legally married, friends, co-workers, or distant relatives.
Experienced estate planning attorneys St. Louis MO of the Purcell & Amen LLC offers estate
planning and business planning resources to residents of St. Louis MO. To learn more about
these free resources, please visit http://www.yourestatematters.com today.