A common refrain from people who have not created any kind of estate plan is that they do not have enough property to make it worthwhile. In some instances, that is true.
However, in many cases, these people had estates more valuable than they thought. Their failure to have even a basic will can cause many problems after they are gone. It can leave loved ones engaged in dispute over property and stoke long-term confusion and hard feelings. Knowing the definition of a small estate, what it means and whether it is necessary to make a will is key when weighing options.
The value of personal property is key
An estate that is valued at less than $50,000 is considered a small estate. In these situations, even if the person had a will, the case goes to Voluntary Administration. This dispenses the need to go through the full court process of probate to dispose of the decedent’s property.
Those who own real property will not be classified as having had a small estate. If they owned a home or land, then an estate plan should be written to provide for loved ones and others the person wants to take care of. When calculating property, people can forget things.
Perhaps the person owns sports memorabilia they accumulated as a child and forgot about. There could be jewelry, art, collectibles, automobiles and more that has value and accrues to greater than the amount for a case to be a small estate.
Know the importance of a will
Not everyone has more than $50,000 of value in property they own. Still, people might be under the impression their items are worth less when they are worth more. In some cases, they have a lot more in assets and do not even realize it.
It is a good idea to inventory all property to make sure before making the mistake of not having an estate plan to ensure it goes to the people the person wants it to go to. Regardless, it is wise to consider the benefits of having a will to make sure the property is handled as the person desires.