Often times discussing a person’s estate can be difficult. Whether it is because of a busy life or a sad feeling that overcomes one when discussing death, it can be challenging to take the steps to initiate a plan.
An estate plan is more than having a will to indicate whom you want your house or car to pass on to. An estate plan can include a combination of documents including a will, trust, power of attorney and more. While there are many more reasons, below are five reasons why individuals decide to take the steps to set up an estate plan.
1) Having an estate plan will ensure that your property goes to whom you prefer.
Whether you want your property to pass to your family or to a charity that you support, having an estate plan avoids your property passing through a set of laws that choose where your property goes when you don’t have a will, which may not dispose of your property as you would have wished.
2) An estate plan helps to protect your children.
If you have minor children, an estate plan allows you to indicate to the court who you would like to care for your children should something happen to you. Without this, a court may appoint someone you would not have picked yourself. If you have adult children or others in your family you want to specifically protect, you can plan to ensure their education or specific needs are taken care of.
3) Estate planning allows you to indicate your wishes in case of incapacity.
An estate plan can allow you to describe your wishes and indicate whom you would prefer to make decisions for you, both medically and financially, should you become incapacitated. Without the necessary documents in place, a family or friend may be stuck with the tough decision of guessing your desires since you did not indicate what your desires were.
4) An estate plan can save you and your family time and money.
Planning now can avoid time and money later by avoiding things such as probate, taxes, or having to initiate certain court proceedings. Without an estate plan, children and family can be stuck in what may seem as never ending court proceedings that could have been easily avoided had the proper steps been taken.
5) Finally, an estate plan saves your surviving friends and family from added stress and conflict.
Having a plan in place avoids your family and friends from guessing what your wishes would have been, including decisions about your funeral arrangements, how you want your property divided, or who you want to care for your children.
While conflict seems to be inherent in certain situations, having an estate plan can provide a means to reduce conflict, effectuate your wishes and avoid unnecessary costs and delays.