A will help plan how someone’s estate will be handled after they pass away. A will may even establish who will be the executor and power of attorney. Many people write one or two wills during their lifetime.
You may have been talking to your parents recently when the subject of them getting old came up. You realized they won’t be around forever, but their estate may be. So you asked them if they have their wills planned out, but they don’t, or at least they haven’t made one yet.
Dying intestate could create problems
Dying intestate is the process of passing away without leaving behind a will. This can be problematic for families when they discover their loved ones didn’t have plans to distribute their estate when they die.
When this happens, the state will step in to decide how an estate is distributed – often giving assets to the closest relative or spouse. But you may not want this to happen, so why might your parents not have their wills made? What may have happened is:
- Your parents don’t know about wills or understand their purpose. A will is one of those things that you either know exists or you don’t. Because of this, your parents may not have a will at all. Or, they may think that wills are only for people of means — and that they have too little to bother.
- Your parents had one, but it’s lost. Your parents may have set up a will years ago, but after a move or two, that legal document was lost. Your parents may need to totally revise an old will, anyhow.
- Your parents are waiting to write a will. Some people think it’s best to wait until they’re sick or dying to write a will. This is often advised against in case there is a sudden accident that prevents them from making a will.
You may need to consider reaching out for legal support when having your parents set up their wills. They may be people available who can explain to your parents their options and help them plan their estate.