People often think estate planning is something only the wealthiest families need to worry about. The truth is that everyone can benefit from estate planning. An estate plan ensures your home, finances and other assets are taken care of following your death, allowing you to provide for your family even after you are gone.
Taking care of your family has always been the No. 1 priority in your life, and that isn’t going to change. The best way to make sure they are taken care of after you pass is to establish an estate plan while you are still of sound mind. Here are the top 10 advantages of creating an estate plan:
Provide for your immediate family. The estate plan will provide enough money for your surviving spouse to continue to care for the family. If both you and your spouse pass, an estate plan will name appointed guardians to care for your children.
Ensure property goes to the right beneficiaries. Your estate plan will outline exactly where your assets are to go in the event of your death. This leaves no questions to be resolved by the courts or cause for family discord.
Minimize the expenses and taxes. When you take care to create an estate plan, you should be able to keep the cost of transferring any property to your named beneficiaries.
Ease the burdens of your family. It can be difficult to plan the funeral of a loved one when grieving. When working on your estate plan, you can outline your wishes for funeral arrangements and even set aside funds for them. This takes some of the burden off your family during this difficult time.
Support a favorite cause. If you are passionate about a local cause or charitable organization, an estate plan can allow you to support them after your passing.
Plan for any kind of incapacity. Life is unpredictable. If you should ever become mentally or physically incapacitated, an estate plan will outline your wishes regarding life and who will make medical decisions on your behalf.
Reduce taxes that take place on your estate. By crafting an estate plan, you should be able to minimize the amount of taxes collected on your estate, which results in your beneficiaries keeping more of the money you set aside for them.
Establish trustees over your estate. You’ll need someone to serve as the executor of your estate to make sure everything is handled properly. Your estate plan will name this person, which will save money and simplify the administration process.
Provide for those who many need help. Do you have a child who has a disability? Or perhaps you have grandchildren who will be attending college in the future. Through your estate plan, you can set up a special trust to provide funds to support them.
Ensure a business continues with a succession plan. If you own your own business, you’ll want to establish some kind of plan to keep it going after you pass. An estate plan will name your successor and outline what happens to your interest in the business.
As you can see, there is a lot that goes into estate planning, and none of these areas are ones you want to leave up in the air. By working with a professional bonded and registered legal document assistant, you can make sure you have thought of everything.
Without a will, your property may not go to who you want. Much of it can be tied up in probate for years, which means your family won’t get the assets they want and potentially need until it’s all settled. You can’t make assumptions that everything is going to go the way you want. Legal documentation is the only way to ensure your wishes are met.