Why Is Estate Planning Important?
We all know someone who, as the old saying goes, is now pushing up daisies! Nobody likes facing their own mortality. A friend, and a good estate planning attorney, titled his book, Why Should I Care, I’ll Be Dead, (available on Amazon). The reality is estate planning is an integral part of your life. Why leave what you have built your whole life, to be wasted. If you care what happens to your assets now while living, why not care about them after you die?
While not as fun as planning a vacation or the fun things you’ll do during retirement, having your estate planned will spare your loved ones a lot of frustration and protect them from potentially angry or hurt feelings with other family members. These family soap opera dramas are all too often real. They happen when dividing up a deceased loved one’s possessions and assets. Having an estate plan in place means you get to designate who gets what and save your family from potential fights over who should have your favorite collections. If you don’t make the decisions now you won't have any control over how your estate is divided up once you are gone.
Don’t make the mistake of thinking that estate planning is just for old people. Every adult should have at least a will. If you have a young family, it's very critical to have a will in place to protect your little ones just in case the unthinkable happens and there is no longer a surviving parent to take care of them. No one I know was given a guarantee on their length of life. You can make sure your children are raised in the manner you want by naming their guardian. If this isn’t done the state government where you live will make guardian decisions for you. Many times, it’s someone you would most likely never have chosen!
Reducing the tax and financial burden for your loved ones is a common goal for many people. At times, many assume that because they don’t have mass amounts of wealth they don’t need an estate plan, but if things aren’t properly arranged beforehand it can leave your heirs with some hefty tax or legal issues. Not only could your heirs have to deal with estate taxes, there could also be income tax ramifications, both federal and state.
If you don’t create an estate plan, and the distribution of your earthly possessions, don’t worry the probate judge will publicly announce how he or she will distribute your assets. Oh and your heirs will have to pay the bill. Remember, it’s easy to divide up a dollar between your heirs; the one and only, cherished family photograph, or piece of art, not so easy!
In the end, literally, if you want your loved ones and assets protected, take the time to set up an estate plan to ensure it happens according to your wishes.
Certain aspects of planning can be harder than others. Don’t be that person in school that’s too afraid to raise their hand. If you have a financial question(s) we’d love to hear it. Send your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org and we will respectfully answer it in a post!
“You must devote some time every day to the subject of investment.” - Gerald Loeb p116 The Maxims of Wall Street by Mark Skousen