Why is estate planning important?

The failure to engage in estate planning can have costly and devastating consequences. Unfortunately, many people believe that if they get sick their spouse can handle everything and if they die, their assets will automatically go to their spouse and children. While there are certain default laws that apply where there has been little or no estate planning, failing to take appropriate steps in advance can lead to many unintended consequences, such as losing significant assets to the nursing home or taxation as well as litigation among family members.