Even If We Only Have $500 in the Bank
Contrary to popular belief, estate planning is not just about money or taxes. Today, it’s more about protecting your assets for yourself and your loved ones, achieving your financial goals and safeguarding your health care. Money and taxes aside, here are 7 reasons you need an estate plan:
- Your Health care
Defining how your medical needs will be addressed in case you cannot make health care decisions for yourself and how the costs of long-term care will be met are primary objectives of an estate plan. You need to name someone to make decisions for you and tell them how you want them made. This must be legally documented or the person you want caring for you, cannot.
Probate is often an unnecessary, public, expensive and lengthy Court process that takes control out of your family’s hands and puts that control in the hands of a Judge who doesn’t know you or what’s important to you.
- Family feuds
Family fights over how assets are divided and distributed are common when there is no estate plan and/or trusted advisor to guide family members. These fights happen even when the amounts of money are small OR even when there is no money at stake. Some of the biggest fights happen in storage units over sentimental items with no monetary value at all. If you don’t want your family to fight, you need to plan your estate.
- Beneficiary forms
You likely have several assets that cannot be passed along in a will alone. These include IRAs, life insurance, retirement plans and annuities, all of which are governed by beneficiary forms that specify who is to receive the assets upon the death of an account holder. Completing these forms properly and providing for protection of those assets once in the hands of the beneficiary is estate planning.
- Kids and parents
If you are currently responsible for the care of minor children, elderly parents or a person who has special needs you need a plan for the continuation of that care after you are gone or if you become incapacitated.
- Managing assets
Is your spouse or other family member capable of managing all your assets? If not, you will need to name someone who is capable of doing this now, so your assets will be managed wisely for the benefit of your family in the future.
- Business succession
If you own a business, you will need a succession plan to govern what happens to your ownership shares if something should happen to you.