With so many misconceptions around estate planning, it’s important to ask why is estate planning important? Many think that needing an estate plan is only important if you’re extremely wealthy, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. There are many aspects to estate planning that apply to literally anyone. Sure, the more complex your finances are probably prompts a little more protection, but everyone has a reason to have some sort of plan in place if something were to happen to you. So why is estate planning important? Here’s a few reasons…
Estate Planning Protects You in an Emergency
If you aren’t entirely sure what goes into estate planning, we suggest you read this post first. In short, an estate plan provides instructions for how you want your assets handled and your medical decisions taken care of, if something were to happen to you. This isn’t just if you were to pass away, there are emergency situations as well in which it’s best to have an estate plan. Should you become incapacitated and unable to make decisions for yourself, having a plan helps your loved ones to know what you want to do. You’ll make your healthcare and end of life planning decisions ahead of time and name the person that you want to be in charge of making sure your wishes are carried through.
Estate Planning Protects Your Loved Ones Financially
Many people think that if they pass away their assets would automatically be transferred to their spouse or another family member. This isn’t always true, especially if certain assets are only in one person’s name. Having an estate plan, and specifically a trust, ensures that your assets to go the people that you wish. Without this, your family may have to fight for the right to your belongings in probate, which takes a lot of time and money. Aside from probate, if you don’t have a financial plan for the transferring of your assets, your loved ones could be subjected to huge taxes that very well could have been avoided.
Estate Planning Keeps Peace in the Family
If you have little kids it’s hard to think what would happen in an emergency. It’s common to think that if something were to happen to you that your kids would go to another family member. While that is probably true, would it be the family member that you want? With proper estate planning you can list your wishes for your children by naming guardians for them and also listing your wishes for how they are raised. Without a guardian being named, your kids could end up in a state system while they wait for your family members to fight for custody of them. Avoid this scary thought by having a plan that names who you would want to take care of your kids. Another point to consider when thinking about planning your estate is keeping the peace in your family. Maybe everyone gets along great, but could that change if money got in the way? Consider your beneficiaries and how they would handle an inheritance. Maybe you don’t want to split things evenly, or you worry about one of your heirs being responsible enough. Plan ahead so there’s no conflicts during a time of grief for your loved ones.
If you’re new to the thought of planning your estate, or if you need help updating an existing plan, let us help. If you’re in Illinois or Wisconsin, we can guide you through the process and give you peace of mind that your loved ones are protected.
Disclaimer: This article is intended to serve as a general summary of the issues outlined therein. While this article may include general guidance, it is not intended as, nor is a substitute for, qualified legal advice. Your review or receipt of this article by Lexern Law Offices, Ltd. (the “LLG”) or any of its attorneys does not create an attorney-client relationship between you and the LLG. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors of the article and does not reflect the opinion of the LLG.