Updated: Oct 7, 2022
More than 50% of the U.S. adult population does NOT have an estate plan to protect themselves and their family’s assets.
Think about it. It’s likely that half of the people you know are unprepared for the future.
Why would someone put off creating an estate plan? There are as many reasons as there are people. Some say they’ll do it tomorrow. Tomorrow never comes. People of moderate means often think that estate plans are just for the wealthy (they’re not!). Others say that estate plans are only for married people. And there are those who are loathe to discuss anything having to do with death, which rules out talking about estate planning.
Sadly, many legal problems caused by failing to plan could have been avoided if one had a power of attorney, or advance health care directive, or a revocable living trust.
Now is the perfect time to put your estate planning house in order.
What are the risks if you don’t?
If you don’t have an up-to-date estate plan and you happen to get hurt or sick and cannot manage your financial affairs, the courts will have to appoint someone to manage them for you. The person they appoint might not be the one you would want to perform those tasks.
Without an estate plan, when you pass away, your affairs will be settled by default through a complex legal system called “probate.” The handling of your financial affairs can turn into a costly and frustrating ordeal for your family and heirs. Your assets may not go to the people you intend, and there is no way for your assets (significant or modest) to get to their favorite charities or causes unless some advance arrangements are made.
The crafting of a good estate plan starts with planning, followed by the proper drafting and signing of appropriate legal documents such as wills, trusts, buy-sell agreements for business owners, durable powers of attorney for financial management, and an advanced health-care directive or health-care power of attorney.
Saving these documents in place saves you and your family money and time at a very difficult and emotional time.
Your estate planning should also address the coordination of the way you hold title to your various assets, your beneficiary selections, and the possible transfer of certain assets while you are alive.
Regardless of the extent of your net worth, estate planning is important. Some experts say that it’s even more important to have an estate plan if you’re a person of moderate means. Though the wealthy may use complex strategies to reduce death taxes and costs, others may only require a simple will and/or trust to pass on property to their heirs and provide for minor children.
Even if a simple will and power of attorney is all you require, an estate plan is an essential part of your financial and gift planning. Everybody will need it someday. The time to address or update your estate plan is now.
If you’re looking for assistance, Takacs McGinnis can help. Just give our office a call.