Estate planning can take many forms: from the simplest of wills and powers of attorney, to the most complex networks of wills, trusts, business entities, and foundations. Getting a plan in place has clear benefits for the person whose life and assets are involved, such as: ensuring your wishes are known to those making your healthcare decisions if you are incapacitated; ensuring your bills can be paid and needs met if you are unable to manage your own financial affairs; and, the peace of mind of knowing that your assets will be distributed in the way you have chosen.
However, more than just benefiting you, estate planning has significant benefits to your family.
- Having a properly drafted and executed Will lets your heirs know exactly how you expect your assets to be distributed, which can significantly reduce the chances of conflict among your heirs after your death.
- Having a Power of Attorney for Healthcare in place ensures that your designated Healthcare Agent (a family member or friend) will make healthcare decisions for you, avoiding the type of stalemate that can ensue when family members disagree over treatment decisions. It will also provide guidance to your Healthcare Agent in making those decisions. This sort of clarity is a gift to your family and friends who might otherwise struggle with who should make decisions, and what your wishes are.
- Having an ensures that your Healthcare Agent will know your wishes regarding life-sustaining treatment if you are in a coma or have a terminal condition, but are unable to speak for yourself. Again, the benefits of making your wishes known go beyond ensuring you receive the care you wish: your loved-ones are relieved of the burden of making these decisions for you, and the attendant doubt as to whether they made the right choices.
These are just the benefits of the most basic of estate plans. For many people, adding a Revocable Living Trust to their estate plan can provide additional benefits by:
- avoiding probate, thus simplifying and speeding up the process of passing assets on while also saving on attorney’s fees and costs;
- providing long-term protection of your assets from the creditors of your children and/or grandchildren;
- preventing assets from being squandered by family members with money management or substance abuse problems;
- saving on state and federal estate taxes; and,
- making the disposition of your estate a completely private process, rather than the public process of probate.
Most people who have not done appropriate estate planning readily admit that they need to get it done. They know it will benefit them someday. Perhaps thinking of it in terms of the benefit a well-crafted plan will bring to their loved-ones is the push they need to invest the few hours and small amount of money to actually do it.
Are you one of these people? Lucent Law has easy-to-purchase Will packages to get you started. Go to our Wills & Trusts page to learn more. There is no simpler way to get a complete Will package prepared by an experienced lawyer. And you never know when someday will come.