Top Reasons You Need an Estate Plan

An estate plan helps you care for your family after your death. It’s not only for the wealthy or elderly, but for anyone who wants to make sure that your property is handled the way you desire, not the state. Here are six reasons you should consider an estate plan.

Avoid Complicated Legal Processes 

When you die without a will or any estate plan, state law takes over and decides how to divide up your assets. You have no control over what your spouse or children receive. If you have a domestic partner, it’s likely that person will be out of luck. Going through probate without a will makes it more complicated for your heirs.

Provide for Children 

If you die suddenly, it’s probable that the child’s other parent will take care of him or her. The other parent would also be assumed to manage the child’s inheritance. If you and the child’s other parent aren’t on good terms, you may want to name someone else to manage that responsibility. Without any guidance from you, the court may have to choose someone. Estate planning can also help you provide for adults with special needs.

Give to Your Favorite Non-Profits and Friends 

An estate plan often includes beneficiaries who aren’t your immediate family. You can name any benefactor in your estate plan. Without a plan, those people would not inherit anything. Your estate plan lets you carry on your values after your death.

Avoid Probate  

Dealing with a will in probate court is very public. You can often avoid probate through estate planning by setting up a trust. When you die, the trust passes to the next generation without fanfare.

Reduce Estate Taxes 

For large estates, the beneficiaries may have to pay inheritance taxes. Careful estate planning can help your heirs reduce their tax burden on your death.

Prepares for a Disability 

Estate planning doesn’t just plan for your potential death. It also includes provisions for your financial position if you become disabled or unable to manage your assets. It protects you in a worst-case scenario. Good estate planning can also protect you in case you are sued as part of your business dealings.

Estate planning needs to be handled before you need it. If you suspect you’re going to be sued, it might be too late to protect yourself with estate planning. Discuss your estate with a lawyer, who can help you take the best steps for your situation.