Slide background

What Happens if I Die or Get Incapacitated Tomorrow, with No Plan in Place?

What’s the most popular estate planning option? Will-based planning? Trust-based planning? Unfortunately, it’s neither. Number one on the list in Virginia is: doing nothing. The more technical term for this lack of planning is called “dying intestate.”

“Dying intestate” simply means that you have decided to depart this world without doing any estate planning whatsoever. While your family will be horrified at this prospect, your unintended beneficiaries, the government and the probate court will all be delighted.

By dying intestate, you will have allowed the government to draft your estate plan for you. As a result, they can tax your estate and impose other costs at the maximum amount allowable by law. In addition, your assets will go to people according state law’s priorities, not your own. For example, most married couples want their share of the estate to be used by the surviving spouse before the children inherit. However, if you have a blended family situation and provided no direction ahead of time, when you die, the court will only give one-third of your estate to your surviving spouse and two-thirds to your children from a previous marriage.

This problem is exacerbated before you die if you have no incapacity planning documents in place. If (and more likely, when) something happens to you that renders you unable to handle your own affairs, without you having a proper legal plan in place, you will have to go through a legal proceeding where a court appoints a guardian to handle your personal affairs and a conservator to handle your finances. The procedure is oftentimes referred to as “living probate.”

Living probate can be a living nightmare for you and your family for several reasons. First, it can be a humiliating process. You are declared incompetent in a public proceeding. Next, the court is in charge. It will decide which people will manage your affairs; it’s neither you nor your family’s choice.

Because of this court proceeding, there is lag time in the management of your affairs due to paperwork and delays. Of course, these hassles can add a lot of stress and expense to what is already a very stressful situation for your family.

Finally, living probate can be very expensive. Typically, there are court fees, attorneys’ fees, expert witness fees and accounting fees. Additionally, once your conservator has been appointed by the court, this person has to give an annual accounting to the court on how your financial affairs have been managed. This is true even if the court appointed your spouse or one of your children as your conservator.

Doing nothing hurts you, but hurts your family even more. Most of our clients tells us that the reason they’re doing proper planning is to protect their family. If that sounds like what you wish to do, we at PJI Law are here to help. Call us at (703) 865-6100 or email us at family@pjilaw.com.

PJI Law, PLC PJI Law, PLC
Aug 20, 2021,
Great service quality works, will use them again and again, nice binder-for the trust qualified in ...
Facebook
PJI Law, PLC PJI Law, PLC
Aug 18, 2021,
We were referred to PJI Law to help develop estate plan. Mr. Paul Abraham met with us to understand ...
Facebook
PJI Law, PLC PJI Law, PLC
Aug 18, 2021,
We were referred to PJI Law to help develop estate plan. Mr. Paul Abraham met with us to understand ...
Google
PJI Law, PLC PJI Law, PLC
Aug 18, 2021,
Paul was very responsive and helpful, and he proactively followed up with me as needed. I highly re...
Google
PJI Law, PLC PJI Law, PLC
Aug 15, 2021,
I highly recommend PJI Law to anyone in need of legal services! Thanks again PJI Law team for all y...
Google
PJI Law, PLC PJI Law, PLC
Aug 14, 2021,
Mom and I went to PJI Law, PLC to set up estate planning. We were greeted with warmth and smiles. ...
Google
PJI Law, PLC PJI Law, PLC
Aug 11, 2021,
PJI Law, PLC helped create my Estate Plan. The process was comprehensive and designed to address my...
Google
PJI Law, PLC PJI Law, PLC
Aug 2, 2021,
Google
PJI Law, PLC PJI Law, PLC
Jul 30, 2021,
One of the best estate planning firms I know! They treat you VERY professionally and with VIP treatm...
Google
PJI Law, PLC PJI Law, PLC
Jul 26, 2021,
Excellent experience.
Google
PJI Law, PLC PJI Law, PLC
May 17, 2021,
We had a wonderful experience. Very professional. Everything was done quickly. They answered all que...
Google
PJI Law, PLC PJI Law, PLC
May 17, 2021,
PJI Law was very helpful with our estate planning. They were very informative and easy to work with....
Facebook
PJI Law, PLC PJI Law, PLC
May 16, 2021,
My wife and I have been very pleased with everyone at PJI Law.
Google
PJI Law, PLC PJI Law, PLC
May 14, 2021,
PJI is awesome. They created an incredibly thorough estate plan for me, and they thought of everythi...
Google
PJI Law, PLC PJI Law, PLC
May 14, 2021,
I have used this law firm for both business (corporate law) issues and for estate planning for 2 mem...
Google
PJI Law, PLC PJI Law, PLC
Apr 19, 2021,
I reached out to them regarding a home buying situation I was in. The matter was resolved right befo...
Google
PJI Law, PLC PJI Law, PLC
Apr 13, 2021,
For several years we had been thinking about hiring a law firm to set up an estate plan, and attende...
Google
PJI Law, PLC PJI Law, PLC
Apr 5, 2021,
We are extremely pleased with the legal services provided by PJI Law. They listened to our concerns ...
Facebook
PJI Law, PLC PJI Law, PLC
Apr 5, 2021,
The PJI Law group are the quintessential professional group we have ever used to help us in legal is...
Google
PJI Law, PLC PJI Law, PLC
Apr 1, 2021,
My wife & I had put off a very important project for years in creating and funding a Living Trust, p...
Google
PJI Law, PLC PJI Law, PLC
Apr 1, 2021,
My husband & I had put off a very important project for years in creating and funding a Living Trust...
Facebook
PJI Law, PLC PJI Law, PLC
Mar 31, 2021,
My husband and I are very fortunate to have found PJI Law Firm, PLC when we were looking for profess...
Facebook
PJI Law, PLC PJI Law, PLC
Mar 25, 2021,
Great firm to work with – I highly recommend them! Appreciated the knowledge and professionalism of...
Google
PJI Law, PLC PJI Law, PLC
Mar 23, 2021,
Every bit of our experience with PJI Law was white glove. Extremely courteous, responsive, knowledga...
Google
PJI Law, PLC PJI Law, PLC
Feb 28, 2021,
They just did my estate plan and I am very happy with their service. They were very thorough and de...
Google
PJI Law, PLC PJI Law, PLC
Feb 10, 2021,
Google
PJI Law, PLC PJI Law, PLC
Feb 5, 2021,
My experience with PJI Law and its staff was excellent! No matter how big or small your case is they...
Facebook
PJI Law, PLC PJI Law, PLC
Feb 4, 2021,
February 4, 2021 PJ Law is a wonderful law firm with a caring and knowledgeable staff. Attorney Phi...
Google
PJI Law, PLC PJI Law, PLC
Feb 4, 2021,
February 4, 2021 PJ Law is a wonderful law firm with a caring and knowledgeable staff. Attorney Ph...
Facebook
PJI Law, PLC PJI Law, PLC
Jan 31, 2021,
I had an opportunity to work with Paul Abraham regarding preparation of operating agreement and othe...
Google
PJI Law, PLC PJI Law, PLC