Yes, You Really Need an Estate Plan Now
“In this world, nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.”
Good old Ben Franklin summed it up well. Certainly, death and taxes are inevitable. Since death is most often unpredictable, it just makes sense to prepare an estate plan as early as possible. That way, your preferences are put to paper. As an added bonus, tax considerations will also be worked out.
There are a couple of things you should know about estate planning. For one, you don’t have to think of creating a will or some trusts as a one-time event. As life goes on, situations change. Thus, estate plans should be periodically reviewed and possibly updated with an experienced estate planning attorney.
Not sure what we mean? Take for example the young couple that puts together a simple will. In their case, the emphasis is on ensuring someone can step in to act as guardian for their children. It was 1963 when they wrote their Last Will and Testament. In the meantime, the person they named as executor in the event of their death has passed. Additionally, their children are nearing the age of 50.
Obviously, this couple’s estate plan is in need of a revamp. In order to legally inform their heirs of their directives, they should meet with an attorney to update their estate plan.
This couple’s situation is far from unusual. However, the even bigger issue? According to a 2015 news source, 64% of Americans die without a will. Amazing, isn’t it?
Why an Estate Plan is Important
As experienced estate planning attorneys, we have come across a lot of reasons why people procrastinate on choosing to execute a will or trust documents. Often, it is simple as not wanting to face the inevitability of death. Unfortunately, putting off the task doesn’t ward off the end of life. An estate plan should not be thought of as death plan.
In a prior article, we discussed the reasons that people with children should speak with an attorney about instructions regarding the care of their children. However, here are some other important details you should know if no estate plan is not in place:
- Married with stepchildren: Without the right estate planning documents, you could find yourself without a home. You and your spouse both need to learn the right way to protect your interests and leave things behind to your children according to your desires.
- Trust may work for you: A number of factors go into the decision to set up a trust. Your attorney can help you decide if that work for you better than a will.
- Tax considerations: Once again, taxes are inevitable. Your attorney will advise you of the best way to divide your estate.
The list of reasons to get on the move and do some estate planning is crucial. This is not one of those things you should “put off and do tomorrow.”