What do Philip Seymour Hoffman, Patrick Swayze, and Robin Williams have in common? You’d be right if you said they were famous, rich, or talented. But in another way, they were just like many other Americans; they passed without an estate plan in place, leading to long and acrimonious legal battles over their legacy and their assets. And while avoiding discord is important, there are many more reasons to consult with Redding Law PLLC for estate planning.
Five Reasons for Estate Planning
Without any further ado, here are five reasons you should have an estate plan in place.
You may have many reasons to be highly specific about which heirs receive what, and when. If you have grandkids or a spendthrift relative whose inheritance should be delayed, if you have a child or relative with special needs requiring long-term care, or you’re worried that an heir’s inheritance could be subject to messy divorce proceedings (among other concerns), an estate plan acts as a hedge against potential issues as the estate is settled.
Protect Your Business
If you are a business owner, your death — whether untimely or long-expected — could impose heavy tax penalties on your business. For this reason, your estate plan may include a succession plan and other legal steps that protect what you’ve built.
Protect Your Privacy
If your will lands in probate court, it becomes a matter of public record. Including key information like passwords, account numbers, phone numbers, emails, and key security information in your estate plan can keep the courts — and potential vultures — at bay.
Protecting one’s own assets is one of the most-often overlooked aspects of estate planning. It ought not to be, since a disability or prolonged illness may necessitate the need for a trusted friend or family member to manage your assets, expenses, and personal affairs. Should you fail to do so, your assets may be signed over to a legal guardian whose interests may not align with yours, and who may squander what you’ve worked a lifetime to earn.
Understand Your Estate
This is, in some ways, a fringe benefit but no less important for that. Your estate plan will require an inventory of capital, assets, and debts; this, in turn, may be the first real snapshot you get of your overall financial health — a fiscal exam, if you will — and your ability to weather retirement and other issues that may well arise before you pass.
What If You Don’t Have an Estate?
Many of you have read to this point and assume that estate planning is the province of the one percent, or at the very least, those with vast physical and financial assets. It’s time to reconsider. Each of us leaves something behind; even — sometimes especially — those with limited assets and resources benefit the most from an estate plan, since it’s important to make sure nothing is mismanaged, wasted, or lost once you’ve passed.