It’s not something many of us enjoy thinking about, but just as we are all born, someday we all will pass away. While general estate legalities will occur, a proper estate plan allows family members and all beneficiaries to properly grieve without having to deal with the legalities of family in-fighting and probate.
Crafting an estate plan, no matter your wealth, allows you to leave a legacy and gift or hand down the assets you have to those you feel deserve them. Estate planning will enable you to assign a trusted guardian for your children if both parents pass away or became too incapacitated to care for them.
The following benefits, included those written above, like assigning guardianship and avoiding probate, are reasons why estate planning is for everyone, not just the wealthy.
- Planned asset division: Assets can include a 401 (k), IRA, bank or investment account, or any property like a home or business. Without one, those decisions are up to your heirs, or if probate occurs, the court will decide, while taking fees in the process. Developing an estate plan can be expensive, but not having one will financially hinder your family much more than the price of creating one.
- Planning as life changes: If a grandchild is born, you got married, re-married or divorced, or experienced another major life event, your estate plan would need to be updated. Most plans (wills and trusts) are fluid enough to allow you to make the necessary changes. State and federal laws can also dictate changes to your estate plan.
- Estate plans aren’t necessary until they are: Even if you live a long and healthy life, unexpected events occur for all of us, and at some point, our health declines. An estate plan offers them some solace during a difficult time.
In addition to your family’s security, if you don’t create an estate plan, who knows what could happen to your life’s efforts, your money, and your business. With an estate plan, the assets and property you worked hard to acquire could be put into the wrong hands.