Minnesota residents may have been saddened to learn of the death of Aretha Franklin, the music superstar behind such hits as “Respect” and “Think.” However, they may want to avoid making one mistake Franklin did: failing to execute a will or trust. This is because if one dies without a will or trust, their estate will go through the public probate process, leading to a result that may not be of their liking.

If you die without an estate plan, the proceeds of your estate will be distributed to your survivors per state intestate succession laws. This is significant, as it means a person could end up inheriting some or all of your estate, even if that is not what you would have chosen. And, should you have no surviving heirs, the proceeds of your estate will simply go to the state, a result most people would not want.

In addition, if you have minor children and have not designated a guardian, without an estate plan, should you and your children’s other parent pass away before your children are grown, the state will choose a guardian for your children. This is another reason why people of all ages can benefit from an estate plan.

Caring.com reported in a 2017 survey that approximately 60 percent of those age 18 and up do not have a will or trust. However, you do not have to be one of those people. Wills and trusts can benefit people of any age and of any wealth. By executing an estate plan, you can ensure your wishes regarding your estate and children will be carried out in the manner you prefer.


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