Friday, March 15, 2013

To Will or Not To Will

Chaudhary Law Office, PLLCIn many societies, or even families, individuals are uncomfortable with the idea of mortality.  Those living in the U.S. are no different.  Consequently, we put off making preparations for the inevitable.  

And while death and taxes may be life's only guarantees, less than half of adult Americans are prepared for this finality.  Minorities, and immigrants especially, make even fewer legal preparations, leaving their children and family members vulnerable to confusion and legal conflict over one's actual wishes.  

Moreover, immigrants face unique legal issues when disposing of a deceased person's assets.  Therefore, an Estate Plan is essential legal documentation to ensure long-term, family security--on par with investments, retirement savings, and life insurance.    

When one passes away, the remaining possessions, assets, and obligations are referred to as the "estate."  The law requires various aspects of an estate be disposed of in some way.  For example, if it is not known (in writing) who the parents wanted to care for their children, a U.S. court will decide on their behalf. This is the law.  However, if there is a document, such as a Will, stating the children would live with their aunt and uncle (for example), the law would enforce it.  

Unmarried visa holders are at particular risk in the U.S., because there is no chance of one's estate passing automatically to a spouse.  If parents or siblings do not reside in the U.S., there is a high chance one's assets will be distributed by a court and not according to the individual's wishes.

An Estate Plan simply refers to documents stating one's wishes for the estate upon passing.  A simple estate plan consists of a Will, Health Care Directive, and Power of Attorney.  Other plans consist of more complicated documents such as a Trust.  These documents make sure that your religious customs, family wishes, and financial assets are respected.  

If one is not a U.S. citizen, it is best that an experienced professional draft these documents and answer questions.  A simple Estate Plan can cost as little as a few hundred dollars, saving thousands of dollars (and heartache) in future legal expenses.

There are many other implications unable to be covered in this space, such as tax impact, life insurance distribution, and immigration status.  For a free brochure, contact Chaudhary Law Office, PLLC at, or (612) 206-3721, for a free consultation.

***Senator Satveer Chaudhary (rtd) was the first Indian Senator in American history, and is now owner of Chaudhary Law Office, PLLC, an immigration law firm primarily serving the Indian community.  For information at


  1. The same way one should be prepared for the event of death, one should also have an exit strategy for the business. If you put up your legal practices for sale without being prepared it could be a disaster.

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