The realities of death aren’t something most people are accustomed to frequently discussing, but certain things like estate planning and creating a will are crucial for everyone to consider. Death is inevitable for all of us, and the ramifications of failing to plan ahead often prove significant.
“While we may not like to think about death, it’s crucial to plan for it,” says Attorney John Wood of Grant Park Legal Advisors. “Those who think they don’t need a will may want to consider the consequences of going without one.”
What is a will?
There is a common misconception that wills are only meant for those who are incredibly wealthy or possess a significant amount of assets that will have to be divided among their relatives. According to Wood, however, everyone can benefit from a will.
“A will is simply a legal document that outlines your wishes regarding the distribution of your assets after your death,” Wood explains. “If you pass away without one, your assets may not go to the people you intended. Instead, the laws of intestacy come into play to determine who your assets are left to.”
The laws of intestacy
The laws of intestacy vary from state to state, but in general, they will prioritize immediate family members, such as spouses and children. Problems arise when a person may have specific ideas or desires on who should receive their assets but fail to have the legal documentation to make their wishes known.
“Each person has unique situations, and wills account for these circumstances,” Wood says. “Perhaps they’re not particularly close to their children, or have no children, and wish for their assets to go to nieces and nephews, or they have no family at all and want what they leave behind to go to a favorite charity. Whatever the case, these circumstances should be outlined legally so a person’s last wishes can be fulfilled.”
Putting the future of minor children in jeopardy
No one likes to think about dying and leaving behind young children, but it happens. “If you have children who are still minors, creating a will is especially crucial,” Wood notes. “A will can specify who will be appointed guardian of your children should something happen to you.”
If a person of one’s choice is not appointed, the decision will ultimately go to a court, and their criteria for who will make an appropriate guardian could differ wildly from one’s own. “This can lead to a lengthy and costly legal battle that can further traumatize your children,” Wood explains.
Unnecessary taxes and fees
Additionally, when someone dies without a will, their estate may be subject to unnecessary taxes and fees. Their estate will go to probate, where courts will appoint an executor to distribute their assets.
“In Illinois and many other states, when there is no will, the court will require a bond to ensure the executor follows the law and distributes the assets correctly,” Wood explains. “This bond is an insurance policy essentially to insure the estate and heirs against malfeasance by the executor or administrator.”
One potentially substantial fee that can be avoided is the probate bond. In many instances when the will waives the bond, the estate will save more than the cost of drafting the will.
“This means some of your loved ones may be on the hook for these fees and taxes incurred,” Wood says. “The executor’s fees alone can be substantial and eat into any money any beneficiaries would possibly receive, and if your estate is subject to estate taxes, your beneficiaries may have to pay a significant amount of money to the government.”
Your business may be affected
If one owns a business, dying without a will can have especially dire consequences. “Your business could be forced to go through probate, which often leads to lengthy legal battles and financial losses,” Wood observes.
The unnecessary taxes and fees Wood previously discussed can also hit one’s business. As such, all business owners should also have a clear succession plan within their wills to ensure that either passing on or closing their business goes smoothly after their death.
You could leave loved ones without financial support
If someone is the sole breadwinner in their family, dying without a will could leave them completely without financial support. “While an estate is in probate, the deceased’s family may suffer immediate financial instability,” says Wood. “Creating an estate plan with a life insurance policy can ensure that your loved ones are financially supported even after your death.”
Death is a traumatic event for families and loved ones, but according to recent studies, roughly two-thirds of Americans either don’t have an up-to-date will or have no will at all. However, those same studies also show that higher inflation is causing more Americans to consider estate planning. Younger Americans are also 10% more likely to have a will or estate plan than in 2020, largely due to the influence of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Whatever the impetus may be, it seems that more people are realizing the importance of having a will and planning for what will happen once they pass away. As they continue to learn about the value of estate planning, attorneys like John Wood will be there to guide them through creating wills and making sound plans for the future.
Designing Secure Commercial Spaces Without Compromising Aesthetics
In the realm of commercial design, security and aesthetics often seem like opposing forces. Business owners and designers alike grapple with the challenge of creating spaces that not only captivate and inspire but also ensure the safety and security of assets and occupants. The good news is that integrating security features into commercial spaces without sacrificing visual appeal is entirely achievable. This blog post will delve into innovative design strategies that harmonise security with aesthetics, including a look at the best deadlocks for front doors in Australia, ensuring your commercial space is both beautiful and fortified.
Embracing Technology for Seamless Security
Modern technology offers a plethora of options for discreet yet effective security measures. For instance, advanced surveillance systems can be integrated into the architectural design in a way that they blend seamlessly with the environment. Smart locks and biometric access controls offer robust security without the clunky hardware, maintaining a sleek and modern aesthetic. Implementing these technologies not only elevates the security level of your commercial space but does so without disrupting its design flow.
Strategic Use of Materials and Design Elements
The choice of materials and design elements plays a crucial role in balancing security and aesthetics. High-strength materials such as tempered or laminated glass, for example, offer excellent security without compromising on the visual openness that glass provides. Similarly, incorporating natural barriers like decorative boulders or planters can serve as subtle physical deterrents while enhancing the space’s visual appeal.
Lighting: A Dual-Purpose Tool
Lighting is another powerful tool that serves both aesthetic and security purposes. Well-planned lighting can highlight architectural features and create a welcoming atmosphere while ensuring visibility and deterring unauthorised access after hours. Motion-sensor lighting, in particular, can be a discreet addition that enhances security without detracting from the design.
The Role of Deadlocks in Aesthetic Security
A critical aspect of securing any commercial space is the choice of locks, especially for front doors which are the primary entry and exit points. Deadlocks offer a high level of security, making them an essential feature for commercial spaces. However, selecting the right deadlock doesn’t mean you have to settle for a utilitarian look. Today, the market offers a variety of deadlock designs that complement any aesthetic, from modern minimalist to classic elegance. For those in Australia, choosing the best deadlocks for front doors involves considering both the security features and how the lock’s design integrates with your commercial space’s overall look.
Collaboration Between Security Experts and Designers
Achieving a balance between security and aesthetics often requires a collaborative approach. Security experts and interior designers need to work hand in hand from the early stages of the design process. This collaboration ensures that security measures are not afterthoughts but are integrated into the design in a way that complements the space’s aesthetic appeal.
Ready to get started?
Designing secure commercial spaces without compromising aesthetics is not only possible but essential in today’s world. Remember, the goal is to integrate security seamlessly into the design, enhancing the user experience and ensuring peace of mind for both business owners and visitors. With thoughtful planning and collaboration, your commercial space can be a testament to the harmony that can exist between security and aesthetics.
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