One reason Patricia L. Brown & Associates handles probate, wills, trusts and powers of attorney is so many of our family law and divorce clients do not have these documents. Perhaps the term "estate planning" misleads people who confuse "estates" with mansions. If you own virtually anything of value (automobile, furniture, family photographs and momentos, a bank account, a TV, etc) or have minor children, you need a will and powers of attorney. Otherwise, some anonymous judge will decide who receives the items you value, including perhaps your despised brother-in-law. And if you are injured or ill and cannot make your own health care decisions, who do you want making those decisions? That brother-in-law?
It may sound unusual (for an article about wills, etc) but this is a website you should visit: "GetYourS**tTogether.Org". It was started by a young woman, Chanel Reynolds, who's husband was killed by a car while bicycling. While trying to deal with the loss, she discovered how chaotic and disorganized their life actually was, although it didn't seem so. For example, they had taken the time to draft wills but sadly never signed and executed them. She didn't even know if her husband had life insurance.
Whenever I give I talk, I ask for a show of hands regarding who has a will. It is usually much less than half. When I ask how many have updated their will in the last 3 years, I get 1 or 2 hands, or none. Most of us postpone doing a will because it reminds us of the inevitable. Yet it is probably the most important legal document you will ever be a party to. If you own anything or have children and die unexpectedly (few of us expect to die unexpectedly!), a stranger, a judge with no personal knowledge of you, will oversee the disposition of your assets and your children.