Why Estate Planning?
For Two Very Important Reasons:
You and Your Loved Ones
Because life can be unpredictable. You may not always be able to act for yourself. You may become ill and unable to manage your assets or make health care decisions. You want to maintain control over your life as best you can. Proper planning will allow others to assist you as you age or deal with unexpected health issues.
In short, maintaining a quality of life is important to you. There are steps you can take to protect your assets and preserve your personal values.
Why Your Loved Ones?
Because your loved ones depend on you now.
Through proper planning, you can still be of help to them after you die. Preserving assets for your family will help them. Having a solid estate plan in place that deals with your assets at your death will reduce the stress for your loved ones at a very difficult time, when they are trying to cope with your loss. A proper estate plan will reduce expenses and taxes at your death, leaving more assets for your family, resources that you have worked hard to build all your life. Estate planning is not inexpensive. Living and dying without an estate plan is far more expensive. Estate Planning is a worthwhile investment.
What If You Don’t Plan?
If you don’t have an estate plan that satisfies the requirements of the law, the State has one for you. Individuals dying without a Will or other estate planning instruments may find that the legislature has decided who will inherit your assets when you die, who should make decisions for you during your life when you are not able to do so or who will be the guardian of your children. Seldom does the State’s plan align with the choice an individual would make for him or herself. You have a choice. Will you make it?
Do You Have An “Estate?”
Some people think that they do not have an “estate,” that estate planning is only for the wealthy or that it is too expensive. The fact is you don’t have to have millions, or even hundreds of thousands, of dollars to benefit from estate planning. Almost everyone has personal property and a bank account. Many are fortunate to have a home, a retirement plan, a car or maybe own some stock. All of this is part of your “estate.” “Estate planning” includes nominating a guardian for children should both parents die before the children reach adulthood or designating someone who will make financial or health care decisions for you when you are not able to do so. The laws are complex and it takes training and experience to know how to guide individuals and families through the estate planning process. This training is ongoing in order to stay up to date on changes in the laws and it costs money. So naturally it can seem expensive to have a proper estate plan drawn up for you by a qualified estate planner. However, more often than not, it is far more expensive not to have an estate plan drawn up for you by a qualified estate planner.
© Annis & Zellers, PLLC
This material is introductory and does not constitute legal advice. Please consult with your lawyer for estate planning services based upon your specific circumstances.