Unfortunately, you cannot predict the future. You cannot predict when or if you may become mentally incapacitated or when you will die. However, you can provide for the future by having an estate plan and powers of attorney in place. This can save you and your heirs money as well as grief. Without an estate plan, you and your heirs may end up in court, possibly in an expensive probate proceeding, or in a very expensive court-supervised guardianship or conservatorship.
If you do not have an estate plan either set forth in a Will or a Trust, then your loved ones will not know what you really wanted when you die. Your property will then be distributed “intestate” or according to the laws of the state where you reside. This means that your property will be distributed to your spouse, children, grandchildren, parents, siblings, etc., depending on who has survived you, whether you want it or not. If you have no relatives, it then “escheats” or goes to the state.
So, it may go to someone or somewhere that you would not have chosen had you taken the time to make a plan, even though you told everyone while you were alive where you wanted your property to go. Just telling everyone your wishes, without putting them into a Will or Trust, is completely ineffective.
10 REASONS WHY YOU SHOULD DO YOUR ESTATE PLAN:
- You are concerned about who will take care of your affairs should you become incompetent.
- You want to name a guardian of your children should anything happen to you.
- You have a spouse and/or child who is not adept at managing money.
- You have a blended family and are afraid if your spouse remarries, her new spouse’s family will wind up with your assets.
- You have a “special needs” child.
- You want your assets to stay within your family and not end up with your in-laws.
- You are worried that you do not have enough insurance to provide for your family and that they may face a distress sale of your assets.
- You do not know if your IRA beneficiary designations are the best for you.
- You own a business that you want to continue after your death.
- You want to ensure that your assets go…
-To whom you want.
-When You want.
-How you want.
IMPORTANT: If you have children from a previous marriage, be sure that they will inherit your property and not your stepchildren. If you die with just having executed a Will, usually your estate will pass to the surviving spouse. If your surviving spouse makes a new Will after you die, he or she can leave everything, including your property, to the surviving spouse’s children and leave your children with nothing. A LIVING TRUST PROTECTS YOUR CHILDREN!
YOUR ESTATE PLAN SHOULD CONTAIN THE FOLLOWING:
- Living Trust
- Pour over Will
- Advance Health Care Directive
- Durable Power of Attorney
You will also Need:
- Documents transferring your property into your trust, including your homeowner’s and car insurance, stocks, bonds & bank accts.
- Inventory of your email accounts, and any online accounts with use names and passwords
No matter what your net worth is, it is important to have a basic estate plan in place. Such a plan ensures that your family and financial goals are met after you die and you avoid court proceedings and court costs!