Why Estate Planning?
Very few people wake up in the morning and wish they could spend the day working with their attorney to create an estate plan. However creating (or updating) a plan is among the most important things you can do. When you do, you can:
- Ensure the wealth you have accumulated over your lifetime goes exactly where you want it to go and when. If you don’t have a will or living trust, the state will impose a distribution plan for you, which may or may not match your wishes.
- Give directions to be followed in case you become incapacitated and can’t make decisions for yourself.
- Organize your affairs and designate who will handle them when you are gone.
- Appoint a guardian for minor-aged children.
- Provide for any special needs your loved ones may have.
- Minimize possible estate taxes and probate fees.
- Specify the type of funeral arrangements you would like.
- Remember and provide for friends, pets, and organizations you care about but are never a part of the default state distribution scheme.
Easing Family Burdens
By planning, you also make things easier for your family. If something happens to you, it will already be a very difficult time for your family and other loved ones. How wonderful it will be if they know exactly what you want to have happen and have the means at hand to follow your wishes. Consider the planning you do now to be your final future gift to your loved ones.
While estate planning can entail some difficult choices and means confronting uncomfortable issues, it does provide a sense of relief and peace of mind when it is done. You’ll know that you have done your best to plan and provide for yourself and for loved ones, as well as for the causes you’ve cared about during your lifetime. There is great satisfaction in knowing what your legacy on earth will be.