The Importance of Having an Estate Plan

A WillYou always hear people say that you will not be able to bring with you whatever wealth you have amassed while you were still living.  That is very true, but have you ever thought about what will happen to them when you do pass away?  There are a lot of tales of family feuds that started because the head of the family was not able to leave a will before passing.  And God knows how many secret bank accounts and properties were left unattended only because the owner was not able to make arrangements for them to be passed on to the rightful heirs.  Imagine what will happen to your family in your passing if you were not able to plan for the transfer of all your properties to their name.

This is the reason why more and more individuals are realizing the importance of having an estate plan.  No matter how modest or massive your wealth is, you need to plan for your estate so that you will have full control of how your estate will be divided among your family and any organizations that you contribute to.

Aside from that, there are many reasons why you should consider meeting with an estate planning attorney:

  • To avoid probate. Most people put together an estate plan in order to avoid a probate.  A probate will require hours of court appearance with your lawyer and tons of paperwork to prove the validity of your will.  If you didn’t go through estate planning with your attorney and did not write up a will the court will assign a representative to decide what happens to the estate that you left.  Though you may not be around to witness all that, you should consider estate planning so that you will have peace of mind that your properties are divided as you wish and equally among the people that you love.
  • To reduce estate tax. There are several estate plan techniques available to both married people and individuals to help reduce inheritance tax.  Planning for your estate removes this burden and allows your family to receive more of the estate that you have left behind.
  • To protect your beneficiaries. Probably the main reason why you should think about estate planning is to be able to ensure that you protect the interests of your beneficiaries.  An estate plan will benefit a minor beneficiary in such a way that you can assign a guardian or trustee to take care of his/her portion of your estate until he/she comes of age.  If you happen to have an adult beneficiary who you fear will not be able to handle the money wisely or has a spouse who might squander the money away or take everything after a divorce, an estate plan can be constructed in a way that you can prevent these things from happening.
  • To prevent feuds. An estate plan will enable you to assign someone who can be in charge of managing your estate when you become mentally incapacitated.  It can also dictate which part of the estate goes to which beneficiary and how much each will get.  Having this in place before your death will prevent the big mess of family fighting over what they think is rightfully theirs.