If you die without a will in Virginia, the law may decide who receives your assets.
Planning for the future is not always enjoyable, but it is important to ensure your assets pass to the beneficiaries you desire and in the manner you desire—providing you peace of mind. At CowanGates, our experienced estate planning attorneys help our clients develop a personalized estate plan based on their desires. After a thorough consultation, our attorneys will suggest a plan to ensure your desires are met, which may involve a Will, Trust or some other mechanism for distributing your assets. Should you pass without a proper estate plan, the Virginia law may create one for you, thereby dictating the distribution of your property — including your home, financial accounts, car and other valuables. This is commonly referred to as intestate succession, which often results in undesired consequences, leading to additional stress, costs and grief for your family.
Here are four of the many disadvantages of dying in Virginia without a proper estate plan:
1. Your Property is Unfairly Portioned Out
Say you are unmarried, yet in a relationship, and want your partner to receive your assets when you die. If you die without a plan that reflects your desires, it can be devastating once your partner learns they will not inherit your property. Instead, Virginia law determines who receives your assets. Your asset could pass to an outcast family member, or other undesirable person. Regardless, your partner will not receive your assets.
2. You Do Not Have A Plan For Your Minor Or Immature Children
Say you are married and you have three children, ages 11, 16 and 21. If you and your wife die without a thoughtful plan, a Court will likely decide who will care for your 11 and 16 year-olds, and your 21-year-old will be deemed an adult and left to his or her own devices. Moreover, your 21-year-old would immediately receive his or her full inheritance without the maturity to handle such a windfall—next stop the Lamborghini dealership. The two young children would receive their entire inheritance at the even less mature age of 18. This is a bad, but all too often real, scenario. Avoid these unintended and potentially disastrous consequences, and let an experienced CowanGates attorney help you with your plan today.
3. Your Pets Go To An Undesirable Home
We all agree that pets are a part of the family. In Virginia, should you pass without a plan for your pets, your furry companion could end up in a shelter. It’s important to pre-arrange a forever home for your pet, whether it’s with your spouse, children, or a relative who cared for them while you were on vacation last summer.
4. Fights Amongst The Family
Being specific about your wishes simplifies a lot for your loved ones. It’s likely that your family members could have conflicting self-interests, causing what could be a potentially easy and inexpensive process (with a personalized estate plan) to become stressful and costly. Save your family the paperwork, lawyer fees and stress, and end the argument before it starts.
Contact an Experienced Estate Planning Attorney in Richmond, VA
To speak with one of our trustworthy estate planning attorneys in Richmond, Virginia, who have successfully handled hundreds of estate plans, call 804-320-9100 today and ask to speak with Scott Stovall, Brandon Cowan, or Michael Hall.