We live each day as it comes—watching our children grow, thinking about their future, and hoping we can be around to see it. A lot goes into planning for their bright and secure tomorrow as you invest in real estate, build assets, or buy lavish vacation houses that will one day be theirs. All of this sounds great, but have you ever considered what would happen if something happened to you?
An estate plan is not only for the well-endowed. Everyone can benefit from having a plan for their assets and loved ones. If you don’t have estate planning in place, your family will have to bear the brunt of it when you’re not around anymore.
What is Estate?
Surprisingly, not everyone realizes that estate planning is not just about what happens to your belongings and assets when you die. Your estate includes everything you own—your car, home, savings account, life insurance policy, and retirement plan.
If you don’t have a plan for your estate, the state will create one for you. However, doing it yourself gives you the autonomy to choose what happens to your belongings, how your children and loved ones will be taken care of, and how your final affairs will be handled—on your terms.
What is Included in Estate Planning?
Between your work, family, and social life, have you ever given enough thought to what would happen if you were no longer here? If not, then you are not alone. Many people hold off estate planning because it can be overwhelming to think about everything that would need to be taken care of. To start, lookup for estate attorneys near me and map out what you would like to include in your estate plan.
Some of the critical components of an estate plan are:
A Will: It is a document that states how you would like your assets to be distributed when you die.
A Durable Power of Attorney: It designates someone to make financial decisions on your behalf if you become incapacitated.
A Healthcare Directive: It allows you to state your end-of-life medical preferences.
A Trust: It can be used to avoid probate, among other things.
Estate planning is not a one-size-fits-all process. The documents you include in your estate plan will depend on your unique circumstances.
Estate planning includes making decisions about:
- Who will make medical calls on your behalf if you cannot do so?
- Who will make financial verdicts for you if you fail to manage?
- Who will care for your children after you?
- How will your debts be paid after your death?
- Who will receive your assets after your death?
With an estate plan in place, you can rest assured that your assets and loved ones will be taken care of according to your wishes—not the state’s.
Don’t wait to start estate planning. The sooner you design a plan, the better.
How To Choose An Estate Attorney?
An estate attorney can assist you in creating a comprehensive estate plan that meets your unique needs. When looking for an estate attorney, it’s essential to choose someone experienced and qualified to help you.
The best way to find an estate attorney is to ask for recommendations from people you trust. You can reach your state’s bar association or search for estate attorneys online.
Reasons Why Estate Planning is Essential
While thinking about death may not be everyone’s favorite activity, it is a reality that we all must face. Considering that, here are a few compelling reasons why you must consider laying out your estate plans:
Take Care of Your Loved Ones:
Don’t we all wish to be there for our special people even after we are gone? If something were to happen to you, your loved ones would be lost without you, especially if you are the family’s primary breadwinner. Having a solid estate plan can ensure that your loved ones are well taken care of financially, even if you’re not around.
It could involve setting up a trust fund for your children’s education or designating someone you trust to manage your finances if you become incapacitated. Additionally, you can outline when and what portion of your assets will be inherited by your heirs. By making final arrangements, you can also help take care of your loved ones’ mental health, allowing them to grieve without having to deal with any of the financial burdens around them.
Prevent Family Feuds:
No one wants to think about their family fighting over their hard-earned assets after they die. Lamentably, it happens more often than not, especially in the absence of an estate plan.
The courts witness plenty of family feuds that could have been avoided if the deceased had just taken the time to sit down and plan out their estate. Your estate plan can prevent your family from going to war with each other by designating who gets what ahead of time.
Save Your Loved Ones from the Stress:
Losing a beloved is tragic enough, but dealing with the legalities of their estate can further compound the grief and stress. If you don’t have an estate plan, your loved ones will be left to figure out what to do with your assets and possessions.
Let’s not forget to factor in the anxiety of dealing with taxes, creditors, and probate court. Planning your estate now can save your loved ones from headaches and heartache later on.
Choose Your Own Estate Representative:
It is a highly accountable and weighty task to be named someone’s estate representative. This person ensures that your final wishes are carried out and that your loved ones are taken care of.
If you don’t have an estate plan, the court will appoint someone to handle your estate, and this person may not be someone you would have chosen.
You can hand-pick the person (or persons) you want to entrust this responsibility by having an estate plan.
Give to Charity:
One of the major benefits of estate planning is that you can use it as a tool to give back to causes that are important to you. You can set up a charitable trust that will continue to give long after you’re gone. It could be as simple as leaving a percentage of your estate to your favorite charity.
Spending your last days worrying about your death’s havoc on your loved ones is not how anyone wants to go. If you have yet to do so, sit down with an estate attorney to put together a plan. It will offer you peace of mind and ensure that your final days are spent living your best life possible.