Some of the common perceptions about estate planning are just plain wrong.
In fact, many people do not think they need a will. Why? Because wills are something only “rich” people get.
They think that if they only have only a little bit of money or property, then everything they have will simply pass wherever their family decides.
However, that is not what happens.
For example, if a person has a car when he or she passes away, then someone has to decide who gets that car. A related person cannot just show up at the appropriate government office and have the title changed into his or her name.
It does not work that way.
A court must decide who will get that car.
For that reason, everyone who has any property at all needs a will, as CNBC explains in "Think you're not rich enough to need a will? Think Again."
In the absence of a will, a deceased person's property will be distributed according to the state's laws of intestate succession. Those laws determine which relations have priority to receive the estate and the court distributes everything accordingly.
Bottom line: the deceased has absolutely no say in who gets his or her property.
Instead of relying on a court to divide your property, get a will.
It does not have to be complicated.
An estate planning attorney can create a simple will for you, even if you do not have many assets.
Reference: CNBC (Oct. 24, 2017) "Think you're not rich enough to need a will? Think Again."