It’s impossible to entirely predict the future, but the first step to providing yourself with peace of mind and your family with protection against any mishaps should you fall seriously ill or pass away is to have a rock-solid estate plan.
Consider an estate plan as a safety net that catches potential problems should you be unable to oversee your finances and assets (such as real estate, a business, investments and certain types of insurance). There is no downside to developing one and the upside is an easy-to-follow guide for your family to your health and financial directives in the event they need one. It’s something that can provide them with a safe and soft landing.
Taking the time earlier rather than later to discuss your aims and wishes with your family in a way that’s clear, transparent and easily understood can help everyone to sidestep emotional conflicts down the road.
Don't underestimate the importance of protecting your assets, no matter the value. Here are three reasons why everyone should have an estate plan.
1. It organizes your assets in an efficient manner
- Choosing how to dispose of your wealth and determining how it’s distributed is not a simple process; it requires guidance and know-how so that it’s done smoothly and correctly.
- Estate planning can help eliminate potential legal battles and it may minimize family conflicts by spelling out what assets are distributed to whom.
- Early planning is a key step in preparing documents that form your estate plan’s foundation: a will, enduring power of attorney and personal directive.
2. It distributes your assets to beneficiaries of your choice, in the way you want
- You want to get assets to your beneficiaries in the way you see fit, rather than having a court decide for you.
- A will lays out the plan for the management and distribution of your estate. It can minimize taxes while protecting family wealth.
- A lawyer drawing up your will attests to your ability to be competent, which is why it’s better to go that route than doing a will with an online kit. If you wait too long, there is the potential for you to be deemed incompetent.
- In your will, you can appoint an executor to protect, administrate and distribute your estate as you have chosen (someone you trust who will be financially responsible and impartial).
- If you are considering any kind of philanthropy, an estate plan can meet your aims without fuss or misinterpretation.
3. It protects your dependents (including appointing a guardian when necessary)
- If you do not leave a will, the courts may appoint administrators or a guardian, if necessary. If you have children under the age of 18, that can take choices that you could have made out of your hands.
- Discussing your estate plan transparently with the rest of your family helps lay the road ahead for future generations to receive wealth, educating everyone in the process.
Servus trust and estate services can provide a representative to discuss your situation with you and help to walk you through the steps toward building a plan that will protect your family as well as maintain your wishes for your future and theirs.