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Consider These 11 Reasons To Start Estate Planning | Part 1

 

Estate Planning is often thought of as something we all need eventually, but many of us put it off. Unfortunately, there are too many instances where people never get around to putting a plan together and it leaves a mess for loved ones to navigate.

Your MoneyDo this week is to put estate planning at or near the top of your priority list if any one of the following situations has crossed your mind.

1. You Want to Avoid Family Matters Being Decided in Court
Establish financial powers of attorney and health care powers of attorney, where you name someone to act on your behalf when you are no longer able or competent. Evaluate options for establishing a Trust or using other non-probate methods to transfer your assets upon your death.

2. You are Worried About Who Will Be in Control
Through various estate planning documents, you have the power to name the individual(s) responsible for managing your affairs as you age and settling your final affairs after death.

3. They Couldn’t Read Your Mind When You Were Alive
Without planning, your loved ones may try to guess at what or who you thought was important to you. Even then, state statutes provide defaults for who will receive your assets at your death. If you desire to leave assets to specific individuals or charities that are not your ‘heirs at law’ you need to have an estate plan that outlines your wishes.

4. Who Will Care For Your Kids?
If you have minor children, your estate plan is where you name guardians to care for those children both physically and financially. You can also create trusts for their financial benefit that will last longer than their 18th birthday.

5. Consider (And Protect) Your Beneficiaries’ Current Circumstances
Sometimes, your loved ones have unique circumstances that require some forethought and planning as you write your estate plan. A trust is a thoughtful option if you have any beneficiaries receiving governmental benefits, since an inheritance could disqualify them from those benefits going forward.

Some beneficiaries may require added protection around the inheritance you leave them. Establishing trusts for their benefit can provide protection for those assets, so they cannot be used to satisfy creditors of the beneficiary, subject to division upon divorce, or provide further protection if the beneficiary has addiction concerns or is not financially savvy.

But none of that will happen by default, so you need to put a legally enforceable plan in writing to ensure all of these things are properly addressed.

If any of these have hit home, reach out to an estate planning attorney today to get things in place for your peace of mind. If you still need some convincing, stay tuned for reasons 6-11 next week in Part 2.

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