A common misconception about estate planning that just won’t die is that you don’t need one if you’re not wealthy or elderly. However, everyone, regardless of their family dynamics or financial status, can benefit from having an estate plan. Here are four essential reasons why you should establish an estate plan today:
1. To plan for your own needs
Most people associate estate planning with death, but the reality is that an estate plan can also protect your assets and interests if you become incapacitated in life. A healthcare proxy or power of attorney is an individual you can appoint to make medical or financial decisions on your behalf if you are unable. An estate plan can ensure someone meets your wishes and needs when you no longer can.
2. To protect your assets
The main component of estate planning is designating heirs for your wealth and assets. Should you pass away without an estate plan in place, the courts will generally decide who gets your assets in accordance with state laws, which can be a long, costly and contentious process for your loved ones. Proper documentation of your wishes will save your family a great deal of time and frustration.
3. To name guardians for minor children
Most people assume they don’t need an estate plan when they are otherwise young and healthy. But if you have young children, it’s a good idea to plan for the unthinkable. In the event that both parents die before they turn 18, you’ll want to name guardians for your children’s care. Without documentation of this, the courts will again step in to decide who will raise your children.
4. To avoid family drama
If you want to avoid causing family strife after your gone and ensure your finances assets go to who you intended them to, an estate plan is a must. Otherwise, your loved ones may find themselves arguing in court over what they are entitled to – and it can get ugly.
Establishing an estate plan as soon as possible and keeping it up to date over your lifetime will ensure you are prepared for the future and leave the legacy you want to your loved ones.