Do you have an estate plan yet? If not, why not? Be honest. Have you been procrastinating? If so, you are not alone. Many people put off making an estate plan. They may procrastinate because they think they do not have enough assets to make it worthwhile. Some people may think they are too young to consider it. Some may see making an estate plan as a stark reminder of their own mortality, and avoid it based on that. Still others, who are unmarried and have no immediate family, may feel there is no need to create an estate plan at all. Perhaps one or more of these reasons resonates with you. To be honest, however, these reasons are all based on common misconceptions about estate planning. Estate planning is important for everyone and there is no time like the present to put your estate plan in place. Let us take a look at three compelling reasons to stop putting off estate planning.
1. An estate plan provides peace of mind. Few of us want to think about dying, getting seriously injured, or being diagnosed with a serious illness. As we all know, however, death is inevitable and injury and illnesses occur. The potential of catastrophic illness or injury is remote, but still all too real. A comprehensive estate plan gives you some say in what will happen if you are seriously hurt or ill and cannot express your wishes. One document in an estate plan that does this is a health care surrogate. This document allows you to designate someone to ensure that your preferences regarding treatment are carried out if you cannot speak for yourself. Furthermore, a living will allows you to specify how much and which medical interventions you would want at end of life.
2. An estate plan addresses practical concerns regarding your family’s future care. The legal documents in an estate plan vary based on each person’s immediate and long-term concerns. With that said, most estate plans include a last will and testament and one or more trusts. That is because these legal tools allow people to make certain provisions for their families. For example, a will allows you to designate someone as a guardian to care for your young children after you die. Wills and trusts also allow you to allocate money for your kids’ immediate and future needs in the event of your death. Without an estate plan in place, the courts will intervene when necessary. The courts may intervene to appoint a guardian for your minor children or determine the best use of your assets for them.
3. An estate plan lets you determine how your assets are distributed. Making an estate plan gives you significant control over what happens to your assets after you die. This is because wills and trusts allow you to specify who receives your assets. They also allow you to name someone, such as a personal representative, to ensure your instructions for the distribution of your assets are carried out. Absent any estate planning documents, your property will be distributed as per applicable state laws.
If you still have questions about estate planning and its importance, we are here to help. Simply call our office to schedule a consultation at your earliest convenience.