Estate planning is a very important part of any family's emergency plan. People purchase home insurance all the time, even though they don't plan on the house catching fire. Unfortunately, those same people sometimes fail to plan their estate, which would care for their children and family in the future. Although you hope that you will live a long full happy life, at some point everyone will leave this life, which is why it is important that you take the time to make sure that your affairs are in order. Here are some things that you need to know about dying without an estate plan.

1. Your Estate Division Will Go On Public Record

If you don't have an estate plan your entire estate will go through a process called probate. This means that the courts will go through and take care of all of the divisions of the estate. When they do this they put everything on public record. This means how much your estate was worth, the ages of your children, debts that you might have had and so forth are all put on public record for everyone to see.

If you have an estate plan you can put all of this information into a trust, which is safe from public record.

2. Your Estate Will Be Divided Based On State Laws

Each state has their own laws about how they divide the estate of a person who dies without a will. Generally, your money and property will go to your next of kin. This means your spouse then your children. If you are unmarried or without children, they would start distributing to your extended family.

When it comes to the guardianship of your children it is not so straightforward. They will usually look at next of kin, but they must take into account all the circumstances.

This is why it is so important that you have an estate plan to protect your children and make sure your estate goes where you want it to.

3. Your Estate Will Be Highly Taxed

Probate and estate taxes are expensive. If you die without an estate plan, the state will take a good chunk of your money simply to execute it. This means that all of your hard earned money goes to the state and not to your family. This is why you should protect yourself by creating trusts and asset protection so that when you die your family gets your money, not the government.

If you are interested in setting up an estate plan, meet with a lawyer that specializes in wills, such as LeBaron & Jensen, P.C.