Establishing a will and estate plan should be part of every person’s financial plan, offering many advantages including peace of mind and protection for family.
A will is designed to distribute assets after your death in accordance with your wishes, designating an executor to administer them and designate guardians for children if needed. A properly written will can ensure your wishes are honored after death.
Peace of Mind
An estate plan and will can bring peace of mind for its beneficiaries. By designating someone to take care of your children in case of your absence and providing instructions regarding how your assets should be distributed at death, a will/estate plan can give those involved great peace of mind.
Your trust can also help you avoid the costly and time-consuming process of probate, and ensures your assets reach those and organizations you desire them to go after your death.
Power of attorney and health care directive documents are integral parts of an estate plan, giving loved ones legal authority to make decisions for you if you become incapacitated, such as medical treatments and how your affairs should be managed should you become sick.
Preserves Your Assets
Establishing a will and estate plan helps safeguard your assets for distribution at the time of your passing, including those at risk from creditors or outside influences.
Asset preservation can also help you avoid estate and gift taxes, so ideally, it would be prudent to revisit and modify your estate plan over time as needed.
Start saving for wealth today by compiling an inventory of your financial assets and obligations – this should include bank accounts, investments, brokerage accounts, insurance policies and any debt/loans that you currently owe.
Keep this list somewhere secure so that family can easily access it if needed. Doing so will reduce stress when searching for assets or accounts belonging to you, saving both time and money spent searching.
An effective plan can reduce stress for both you and your heirs and loved ones. For instance, you could designate guardians for children or pets as well as someone to make health care and financial decisions on your behalf should you ever become incapacitated and set forth end of life wishes – all to help ensure your wishes will be carried out even in case of unexpected death.
Your financial plan should change over time to account for changes to your family and financial situations, such as having children or grandchildren, getting remarried or divorced or changing names for whatever reason. A good rule of thumb would be to review it every three to five years so as to remain up-to-date and ensure its occupants (you and any children you may be providing shelter to) remain safe. Making plans is one of the most essential tasks you’ll undertake so don’t put it off; get planning now.
Preserves Family Relationships
Even if your assets are minimal, creating a will and estate plan is still an invaluable way to maintain good family relations. A will lets your loved ones know your wishes for them as it ensures the things you intend to give will arrive as planned.
Wills can also serve to ease postmortem conflicts by creating an avenue for everyone involved to communicate and come to an agreement on the care for any children or animals left behind.
Families may struggle to remain close after the loss of a loved one, especially when money issues come into play. By helping to avoid these potential conflicts and strengthen family ties in the future, an estate plan may provide essential protection and strengthen relationships for everyone involved.
Establishing guardians for your children or animals and including that person in your will is another essential aspect of estate planning. Establishing such plans will allow your family to avoid the unnecessary stress and confusion caused by trying to make these difficult choices without proper guidance from an attorney.