It's easy to think that estate planning is all about you or all about your financial assets. While it does start with these things, it's actually all about your family. It may have a bigger impact on them than you realize.
For instance, those who do not have an estate plan run the risk of pitting their heirs against one another, possibly in court, if they do not agree on how to split up the estate. If one person gets an asset that someone else wanted, it can lead to resentment that lasts for life. Children may argue and fight so much that they never talk to one another again.
Remember, your role as a parent may have helped tie your kids together. They would all come to visit for the holidays. They would keep in touch through you even when they didn't see each other.
After you pass away, you want your kids to continue to cultivate these relationships on their own, but it suddenly takes a lot more work. They may not do it. If your lack of an estate plan leads to hurt feelings and legal battles, what are the odds that they'll do that work? Aren't they much more likely to just drift apart? Is that the legacy that you want to leave for them?
This isn't to scare you into creating an estate plan, but it is very important to consider all of the real ways that it impacts your family. If you want to plan for the best possible future for them, you need to know what legal steps to take.