In most states, there is a statutory scheme called descent and distribution. As we all know, loved ones often leave behind an inheritance when they pass. If the party who passes away does not have a will that they formalized during their life, then all of their assets will pass to their heirs at law. For example, if your parent(s) passed away, you and your siblings would inherit their assets. If you do not have children, then it would pass to your siblings, followed by your nieces or nephews, followed by your cousins. That whole scheme of family tree under the law is called degree of consanguinity, and it’s been in existence for years.
If a person doesn’t have a will, you should encourage them to make one. Sometimes people don’t want to talk about dying, but they really need to consider what’s going to happen to their things when they pass. Wills allows for the person to plan for the next generation and decide which assets are going to be preserved, sold, or gifted. If you don’t have a will, you are going to have to go through probate and obtain orders from the court to receive access to bank accounts, safety deposit boxes, life insurance information, and IRA, 401(k), and pension information. Generally speaking, you should hire an attorney to help you obtain all of this information and to take the necessary steps in managing that information. For instance, a car title does not automatically transfer to heirs upon the death of the car owner; in order to have that title put in someone else’s name, a new title will have to be issued at a court hearing.
Many people don’t realize how important it is to plan for what will happen after their death. I always say proper planning prevents poor performance, because you can actually get things accomplished if you plan for what is going to happen in the future. It’s true that none of us get out of here alive, so we need to plan for how we are going to take care of our personal property and real estate in the event that we pass away. If a person is married and does not have children, they can just do what I call phase one of estate planning, which is to leave everything to their spouse, and their spouse would do the same. They would also appoint a trusted individual to manage their assets in the event that they and their spouse die at the same time.
Appointing a trusted person to be the administrator or executor of an estate is an important component of estate planning. If you have more complicated matters, like the involvement of minor children, then you should have a plan that appoints someone to care for your children in the event that you or the other parent passes away or becomes unable to care for them.
If you have a significant amount of money, you will need to plan in a way that will limit the tax burden on your loved ones in the event of your demise. You might want to donate a portion of your assets to charity or create a charitable trust. The charitable trust would become a public foundation trust where you could help fund special interests that you had during your lifetime.
We handle all aspects of estate planning at our firm, including power of attorney documents and living wills, which would come into play if you become incapacitated or chronically ill and unable to handle your personal finances. The person appointed as power of attorney would have the right to handle the finances in your stead. Your living will would also appoint someone to make end-of-life decisions, such as whether to go on life support or have life-sustaining efforts made. All of these important legal documents can be handled by competent, confident attorneys on your behalf, giving you the peace of mind that comes with knowing that everything will be taken care of upon your passing.
For more information on Death Of Family Member In Kentucky, a free initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (859) 888-3400 today.