You don’t have to have an estate plan. However, if you don’t, the courts will decide where your assets go using statutes written by your state government.
Getting started in planning can be a challenge if you don’t have the basic information needed, according to Cincinnati.com in "Now is the time to consider the basics of estate planning."
The key facts people need to know are what is involved with wills and trusts and how they differ.
A will is a formal written document you can use to establish how your property should be distributed after you pass away. Your will is submitted to court after your death and the court appoints someone, usually the person you designate in your will, to make sure what you want done is actually carried out. A will has no effect until after you pass away.
A “living” trust is different in that it takes effect before you pass away. Trust documents create a legal entity into which you transfer your assets. After you pass away, the assets are then managed or distributed according to the directions given in the trust document by the individual or individuals you name as Trustees of the Trust.
A trust does not ordinarily need to be submitted to court. If you have a will, you do not necessarily need a trust. However, if you have a trust you, still need a will.
There is a lot more to estate planning, including additional basic information that you should know.
An estate planning attorney can guide you to create an estate plan that meets circumstances and accomplishes your goals.
Reference: Cincinnati.com (Nov. 2, 2017) "Now is the time to consider the basics of estate planning."