Timely estate planning may prevent extra grief during probate

Timely estate planning may prevent extra grief during probate

| Apr 23, 2020 | Probate |

Estate planning can be a sensitive and painful subject, so it is understandable if you have been putting it off. Many people do not want to dwell on their own mortality, or that of a loved one. 

Some people may suffer an unexpected loss, robbing them of the opportunity to create an estate plan. For some others, a potentially lethal disease may force them to face making plans, whether they are ready or not. 

Consider, for example, a wife enduring her husband’s decline from Alzheimer’s disease. Trying to safeguard his life may consume her, preventing her from facing the prospect of his death. She may even feel it is premature to discuss plans. But it is never too soon to begin tackling this heavy subject. 

What might happen if the couple fails to plan? 

Waiting until he is gone to sort out what he may have wanted for his loved ones can become a web of problems. Without creating a plan, the probate may even drag on for years. 

He may have an ex-wife who is still a beneficiary at his bank, though their marriage ended years ago. He may have children or grandchildren not yet included in his will. He may have changed his mind about burial plans from long ago. If he does not make those updates, his assets may not go to the people he intended to have them. 

What might happen if the couple waits too long? 

Waiting too long after her husband begins to decline may still complicate probate. People who opposed the changes may later challenge his fitness to have made them. Despite the effort to plan, his family and estate may not get to be at ease for years and a judge may end up making his choices for him. 

No matter how distressing it is to create end-of-life plans, facing it without delay may provide your loved ones the freedom to grieve in peace. You may even give yourself a sense of peace, too. 

William G. Peterson
FindLaw