Barsh & Cohen P.C. | Estate planning—testate vs. intestate
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Estate planning—testate vs. intestate

Estate planning—testate vs. intestate

Last Will and Testament document with quill pen and handwritingThe way matters are handled after your death will be determined by whether your estate is testate or intestate. Simply put—if your estate is testate it means that you died without a will and a testate estate means you died with a will and you have an appointed party to be the executor of your will.

For a testate estate, the management of the estate can be handled smoothly, without uncertainties over transfer of the estate’s assets. A will gives you control over what happens to your estate if you die or become legally incapacitated. It can include a living will spelling out what you want to happen if you are incapacitated as well as a power of attorney.

Intestate means that the owner of an estate has died without a will and what happens to the estate is determined by the laws of the state of residence. A person can also be partially intestate if only a portion of the assets are covered by a valid will. Succession laws can vary greatly by state so there is no single formula determining the distribution of an estate for a person who dies intestate. What this means is that the legal system will ultimately decide the distribution of your estate regardless of what your wishes may have been.

If you do not have professional legal assistance in preparing your will, you may overlook property or other assets and could cause your will to be invalid or perhaps partially intestate. So, even though you have a will, if it is declared invalid, your estate could end up being distributed according to your state’s succession laws.

Don’t let this happen to you. The state does not know or understand your final wishes when it comes to distributing your estate and taking care of those who are important in your life. We can customize an estate plan to make sure your estate succession is handled according to your wishes. Contact us to set up a consultation.

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