Estate planning is an important but often stressful process. It requires that you think about what happens when you die and also who protects you in the event of a medical emergency. Wills, trusts, advance directives and powers of attorney can help protect you during a vulnerable time and establish a specific legacy when you die.
Unfortunately, it is somewhat common for adults to procrastinate about estate planning and then die without any formal documents in place. Most people take for granted that their property will pass to the right people even without a will.
Intestate succession laws help pass assets from one generation to the next even when someone fails to create a legal will or other estate planning documents. For members of the LGBTQ+ community, intestate succession may be something they particularly want to avoid.
Immediate family benefits from intestate succession law
Colorado, like most states, has intestate succession laws that focus on close family members. Spouses and children have protected inheritance rights. Married adults who are not parents can expect that some of their property may pass to their own parents. Unmarried adults who are not parents can expect their property to pass to their own parents or other family members, like grandparents or siblings.
For members of the LGBTQ+ community, intestate succession might mean that family members who rejected you and turned their back on you are the ones who inherit all or some of your property. More concerning is the possibility that those same people could have control over assets that you would prefer pass to your romantic partner or closest friends.
You can take control of your legacy
Anyone who is an adult and of sound mind can potentially create their own estate planning documents. Creating your own planning documents, allows you to make sure that your estate is inherited in the way you intended. It also avoids the chance that your home might be inherited by family that then kicks out your romantic partner or roommate.
You could create a trust that allows someone to stay at the home that you own and other people to inherit it later or a will that designates the people closest to you as the main beneficiaries of your estate. You have control over what happens to your property if you take the time to create your own estate planning documents.
Understanding what happens to your property if you die without a will could help you and your procrastination related to estate planning.