If people are married with children, assets tend to go to either their spouse or children when they die in the absence of a will. However, those who are married without children may want to create an estate plan to account for where their assets go upon their death. While they may first transfer to a spouse, they may be transferred to the surviving spouse's family upon his or her death.
This may mean that a decedent passes items to an individual who was never supposed to get them. In addition to creating unintended beneficiaries, it could take time to settle an estate in probate court. Those who are cohabiting may want to create an estate plan as assets may not automatically pass to a life partner. In addition to taking control of assets after passing away, it may be possible for an individual to gain more control of how assets are treated while still alive.