I mention estate planning often to clients and acquaintances, and I’m always surprised by how few people have even considered it.
In fact, many clients tell me they don’t have enough assets — or a sufficient net worth — to even bother. But the reality is that everyone, even people of modest means, should plan for the future and the inevitabilities of life and death.
If you don’t want to do it for yourself, do it for your family.
How Will Your Children Be Cared For?
If you have an accident tomorrow that incapacitates or kills you, what will happen to your children? If you have young children, creating a formal plan is the best way to ensure they are provided for in your absence.
Estate planning encourages you to consider what your children will need to complete their college education, for example. It will also give you the option to decide who will care for your minor children, if necessary.
Will Your Family Have to Endure Probate?
Probate is the legal process used to settle an estate, and it’s one that you want to avoid at all costs. You certainly don’t want to put your family through it.
Probate is expensive — it can capture as much as 6 percent of the market value of your estate. But even worse, it can tie up your assets for months or even years.
That means when your family most needs to access money to pay the bills and keep a roof over their heads, they won’t be able to because you put off estate planning.
Who Will Act on Your Behalf?
If you become incapacitated, who will handle your business and financial affairs? Unless you make arrangements through estate planning, others may not be able to handle important day-to-day matters on your behalf.
Who will be responsible for carrying out your wishes when you pass on, or for distributing your assets?
These are all important considerations, no matter what your net worth may be. And although they may be uncomfortable topics to think about, your family’s future well-being may depend on you facing that discomfort.
Some of the primary components of estate planning include wills, trusts, life insurance and powers of attorney. You’ll also need to designate beneficiaries and potentially incorporate tax-planning strategies.
At the Froisland Law Firm, I am pleased to offer both estate and tax planning services. Contact my office to schedule your appointment today. Don’t wait any longer to get started on important estate-planning tasks.