Each year, the news is full of stories about high-value celebrities who pass away without adequate planning and as a result, have assets that end up tied in lengthy and costly legal battles. While many people have estates smaller than well-known celebrities, estate planning is critical for these individuals. After all, many people see value in passing on assets and helping family members. While people often realize the value in estate planning, a common mistake is made in failing to establish any type of estate plan.
While everyone should create an estate plan, it’s understandable that people delay creating them. After all, estate planning almost always involves considering the terms of your death, which can be a difficult thought for many people to consider. Despite the potential excuses, if you pass away or become incapacitated without an estate plan, your estate can end up experiencing undesirable results. This article reviews some critical reasons why you likely need to create an estate plan.
# 1 – Articulating Your Goals
Life is full of countless unexpected developments including marriages, moves, career changes, and deaths. Legal changes can also impact estate plans. Each of these events can make people change their goals, which often means they need to adequately update their estate planning documents. For example, you might change your perspective about who should be a beneficiary of your estate or how many assets you would like to pass on to a specific beneficiary.
# 2 – Adequately Locate Your Assets
Various assets including retirement accounts, brokerage accounts, life insurance policies, and bank accounts require different measures. It’s just as critical to be aware of which and what amounts of assets are passed on to who. It’s also critical to consider the financial status of your loved ones.
# 3 – Avoid Disputes
Many people are familiar with the family fighting that can occur after a person’s death. Besides issues related to time and money, failure to create an estate plan can lead to substantial conflict for your and your family. Making fundamental decisions including who will be in charge of making care decisions if you become incapacitated as well as how assets will be distributed can all be avoided by fully articulating these details in your estate plan.
# 4 – Reduce Taxes
The possibility of losing a substantial amount of your estate to federal and state taxes should be reason alone to create an adequate estate plan. With the proper strategies, married couples can reduce or even avoid estate taxes. Through the proper estate planning techniques, it’s also possible to reduce the burden of inheritance tax faced by your children or grandchildren. For example, you might decide to utilize a living trust in combination with a Living Will and Last Testament to avoid facing taxes.
Do Not Hesitate to Contact an Estate Planning Attorney
If you need help navigating the estate planning process, you should not hesitate to contact a knowledgeable estate planning lawyer who can help guide you through this process. Contact Ettinger Law Firm today to schedule a free case evaluation.