Some people think that only the wealthy need estate plans, but that’s not true. If you own assets and have loved ones, you need to document what you want to have happen to your estate when you’re gone. In the words of Thomas Jefferson, “Never put off for tomorrow, what you can do today.” Here’s why you should have an estate plan:
- Life is unpredictable.
The truth is that things happen that we don’t expect. We like to think that we’re in control but in reality, we’re not. So be prepared and make sure that your family will be protected just in case you aren’t here in person to do that.
- Control your finances even after you’re gone.
Document what you want to happen with your assets so you have the peace of mind of knowing that your wishes will be carried out. You choose how and when your heirs will get an inheritance, which is especially important if you have young children or grandchildren.
- If you want to maintain your privacy, you’ll need an estate plan.
Without an estate plan your assets can become public information as your estate goes through probate court. As part of your estate plan, you can create a trust that will pass outside of probate, so a court won’t need to oversee the process, which can save time and money. Also, unlike a will which becomes part of the public record, a trust can remain private.
- Protect yourself from disability.
By creating a health care proxy and a living will, you choose the person who will make medical decisions for you in case you’re in a situation where you aren’t able to communicate your wishes. A living will works in conjunction with a health care proxy by expressing your wishes as to how your designated agent should proceed in specific circumstances such as how and when you wish to receive medical treatment in the event of a terminal illness.
- Preserve your estate.
Use estate planning techniques to protect your assets. Implement a trust to avoid the financial costs incurred by a lengthy probate process. A well-crafted estate plan can also reduce taxes on your estate.
It’s Easier Than You Think
Getting started is really the hardest part of estate planning. The actual process is fairly quick and inexpensive and will provide you with enormous peace of mind. Even better, estate planning is an investment for your family that will almost assuredly pay for itself ten-fold, either by avoiding unnecessary tax and probate fees down the road or by protecting assets from long-term care costs and other creditors. Contact us at 617.299.6976 or firstname.lastname@example.org for a free, no-obligation consultation.