REASONS FOR ESTATE planning
Consider these reasons why you might complete an Estate Plan:
1. Preserve and Grow Family Wealth – with a plan in place you can continue to preserve and grow your assets securing your wealth for the long term and providing a legacy for your heirs.
2. Avoid Probate Court - without a Will or Trust you can’t choose who inherits the assets and personal property you worked so hard for. This often leaves probate courts to decide. Probate is a process that can become very public, can get ugly and costly, with loved ones tied up in the courts for months or even years following your death.
3. Protect Beneficiaries – if you don’t designate your heirs and provide distribution instructions, you won’t have control over what happens to your assets. The court will do that for you and doesn’t always know the best course of action to take. For example, the court doesn’t know if an heir is irresponsible and, therefore, should not have free access to all the inherited assets at once. Nor will a court automatically rule that your surviving spouse gets everything, if that is what you hope would happen.
4. Protect Your Young Children – in the event you die young, you’ll want to name guardians for your minor children to ensure they are cared for in the manner you would like versus letting the courts decide. You may also want to set up a fund to provide for their higher education.
5. Avoid a Big Tax Bite – even just a bit of estate planning can help reduce much or even all the federal and state estate taxes that your heirs may owe when your assets are transferred to them upon death.
6. Eliminate Stress and Messes – putting your affairs in order through estate planning lets your loved ones know your wishes and helps:
- prevent disagreements between family members.
- ensure your health care wishes are met; and
- ensure your assets are handled in a way that addresses family needs.
These are just some of the key considerations you will want to think through. For example, you can decide to divide your estate equally, or arrange more to go for your child who has health problems. You can give more to the child who did most of the work caring for you as you aged, or less to the child who benefited more from something you provided financially, while you were alive, relative to your other children. And, of course, if you’ve had more than one spouse or have children from more than one family, an estate plan becomes even more important.
7. Leave a Lasting Legacy – create a positive impact on future generations who come after you.
If you have additional questions, please feel free to contact our experts.
This content is intended to be used as a source for general information and is not provided as legal advice.