4 Reasons to Make an Estate Plan
Estate planning really is for everyone. Without a plan in place, there may be a long-lasting impact on your loved ones. Consider these four reasons why you should have an estate plan, in order to avoid potentially devastating consequences.
- Prevents Your Assets From Ending Up With Unintended Beneficiaries
If estate planning was once considered something that only the wealthy needed, nowadays many middle-class families need to plan for when something happens to a family’s breadwinner (or breadwinners). Most people intend for assets such as stock or real estate to be passed on to their heirs. If you do not designate beneficiaries, you will not have any control as to what happens to the property when you pass away.
The main component of estate planning is designating heirs for your assets, whether it’s a summer home or a stock portfolio. Without an estate plan, the courts will often decide who gets your assets, a process that can take years and can get ugly. After all, a court doesn’t know which sibling has been responsible and which one shouldn’t have free access to cash. Nor will the courts automatically rule that the surviving spouse gets everything.
- Protects Families with Young Children
No one plans to die young. If you’re the parent of small children, you need to prepare for the unthinkable. In order to ensure that your children are taken care of in a manner in which you approve, consider creating a will in your estate plan. You can name your children’s guardians in the event both parents die before the children turn 18. Without a will, the courts will again step in. And this time it’s not to determine who gets a physical assets, but who will raise your children.
- Stops Heirs from Overpaying In Taxes
Estate planning is all about protecting your loved ones, which means in part giving them protection from big tax hits. Essential to estate planning is transferring assets to heirs with an eye toward creating the smallest tax burden for them as possible. Even with just a little bit of estate planning, couples can reduce much or even all of their federal and state estate taxes or state inheritance taxes, which can get very pricey. But without a plan, the amount that your heirs will owe Uncle Sam could be quite a lot.
- Eliminates Family Messes When You’re Gone
We’ve all heard those horror stories that when someone with money dies, the warring between family members begins. One sibling may think he or she deserves more than another, or one sibling may think that she should be in charge of the finances even though she’s notorious for racking up debt. Such squabbling can get ugly and end up in court, with family members pitted against each other. It’s yet another reason why an estate plan is necessary. This will enable you to choose who controls your finances and assets if you become mentally incapacitated or after you die, and it will go a long way towards quelling any family strife and ensuring that your assets are handled in the way that you intend them to be.
The Bottom Line
Simply put: if you want your assets and your loved ones protected when you no longer can do it, you will need an estate plan.
Interested in learning more? Contact Janice Raeber today to learn how your legacy could build better tomorrows for Missouri children and families. Call 314-754-2786 or email us now!