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What happens if you die without a will?

On Behalf of | Aug 14, 2017 | Estate Planning

The consequences of not planning for your death.

According to a recent Harris Poll regarding a will:

  • 64% of Americans do not currently have a will
  • Out of the 64% that do not have a will, 27% said a will was not an urgent need
  • 15% said they do not need one at all.

The poll also indicated why so many Americans are in no rush to establish a will or other estate planning documents.  The study concluded that 1) we do not like to think about death, and 2) most Americans believe that wills are for the super-rich.

The state of Tennessee will dictate your assets if you don’t.

The reality is that all states have already established a “will” for its citizens who do not prepare their own wills.  In Tennessee, this will can be found in our statutes which dictate where certain assets go when you pass.  For example:

  • Are you married and one child?  The government says that your spouse receives 50% of your estate and your child gets 50% upon your death.
  • What if you have more children?  Your spouse receives 33.3% and your children split the remaining assets equally.
  • What if you wanted your spouse to receive everything or for a child to receive nothing?  Too bad.  Because you did not have a will, you cannot direct where your assets go, the government does it for you.

Appoint your child’s guardian.

A will is especially important for families with young children.  If you or your spouse should tragically die you have no ability to declare to the Court whom to appoint as the guardian of the minor children.  The Court will decide on its own without any input from you or your spouse.  However, should you have a will you can name a guardian that you would like to take care of your kids at your death.

Take control of your assets.

The bottom line is that if you want to control where your assets go upon your death, or if you have minor children, you do need a will.  A will can be as simple or as detailed as you would like, but for you to have control over your estate at your death a will is essential.

Establishing a will or estate planning can be complicated, but there is no need to be overwhelmed. Contact one of our estate planning attorneys to assist you further with creating or updating a will.. With offices in Clarksville and Springfield, TN, the legal team at Batson Nolan, PLC is here to help you today!