Many people believe the misconception that estate plans are reserved for the elderly or wealthy. Regardless of age or net worth, there are many benefits in starting one today. Having a plan for your real estate, savings and other assets after you die is not something most want to think about, but estate planning is very important, and we want to offer eight reasons why this is so.
Loss of Capacity
What will happen if you become unable to manage your everyday affairs due to illness or failing health? Without an estate plan, a court will select a person to manage your affairs for you. With a plan, you can decide who will see to the day-to-day dealings of your personal and professional affairs or business, if you own one.
What About Your Children?
Have you stopped to think what will happen to your young children if you pass away? We know it’s something most parents don’t want to think about, but it should be discussed. Without a plan, the court will make that decision for you, but with a plan, you’ll be able to nominate a guardian that you see fit.
Passing Away Without a Will
Passing away without a will can leave your assets up for grabs. Who will inherit them? Without a plan, all of your belongings and assets will be passed on to heirs according to the state’s laws of intestacy. Family members, even the ones you would not choose to leave anything to, could receive your belongings without your approval. With an estate plan, you get to decide where and to whom your assets will go.
Extended or Blended Families
If your family is currently made up of multiple marriages, without a plan, children who you hold dear to your heart (and from a different marriage) may not be treated as you wish. With a plan, you can decide what goes to your children no matter which marriage they’re from.
Keeping Property, or Assets Within the Property
Family businesses and assets are so very important that some families prefer that they stay within family bloodlines. Without a plan, for example, a child’s spouse could end up with your money or legacy if your child passes away. Or, if your child happens to divorce, half of your assets could go to the spouse. With a plan, you can set up a trust that guarantees your assets stay within the family and are passed onto grandchildren.
Special Needs Children Should be Protected
A child with special needs can still receive government benefits while using trust funds to pay for non-covered expenses. A Supplemental Needs Trust allows your child to receive these benefits. Without an estate plan, your child risks being disqualified from receiving SSI benefits and Medicaid.
Accounts for Retirement
If you have a retirement account or IRA, without a plan, what becomes of them may not reflect your current wishes and could result in disappointing tax consequences for your heir. With an estate plan, you decide the optimal beneficiary.
If you own a business and fail to name someone to take the reigns when you pass, there is a risk that your family could lose control of the company. An estate plan will allow you to decide who will take control and run the business after you pass away.
We’re Here to Help
Creating an effective estate plan is not something you should do on your own. Call or visit us anytime as we have years of experience in the field. Also, consider bringing your family into the conversation. Doing so will help bring a sense of security by coming to common ground on protecting your assets and legacy for years to come.