In the estate planning world, we see study after study showing that the majority of Americans still do not have a written estate plan. (60% according to the AARP: here) However, when we talk to friends and family, we hear time and again that everyone knows they SHOULD have a plan in place, they just haven’t done it yet.
So, why is it important for families to have a plan in place? Here are 6 reasons why our clients have come in to create an estate plan, see if any of them might apply to you:
1. We don’t want our money to go to the government when we pass.
Many families are not facing the need to pay a federal estate tax after they pass under the new tax rules. However, families still face issues of income tax of inherited money, capital gains tax on the sale of appreciated assets, and fees for probate and other necessary steps in settling an estate after a loved one has died. These are all important costs to take into account and in many cases can be lessened or eliminated with a proper estate plan.
2. We don’t want our families to have to deal with the process of probate.
Put simply, probate is not fun. It is a long process with many rules and requirements which must be met for a family to settle an estate fully. It is also a very public process allowing the world to see your inventory and whom it is going to. Even a simple estate plan, that merely avoids probate, will help your family much more than no plan at all.
3. We don’t want the state to decide to whom our assets go.
What many people don’t realize is that even if they have not written their own estate plan, the state has already done so for them. If a loved one dies without creating their own personalized estate plan, then the estate will pass according to the laws put in place by the state. In some cases, this may pass the way one expects, but in most cases the family is shocked by how the state has decided who your assets go to.
4. We don’t want a judge to decide who will watch over our children.
It is vital for parents with minor children to create an estate plan. If nothing more than to nominate who will take care of your children if you pass away while they are still minors. If you don’t have a plan in place, it will be up to the judge to decide who they think is the best fit for the child.
5. We don’t want the courts to decide who will make decisions for my health care if I can’t.
If you are in a position where you are unable to communicate what you want done with your health care it is important to have a health care agent named ahead of time. If you do not have someone authorized to make health care decisions for you during a time of disability, your family will be required to go to the Court to have someone appointed, and it may not be the person you would choose.
6. We want our family to know our wishes and have them written out.
One of the most important ways that a family can have peace of mind is knowing the wishes of their loved ones when they pass. A written estate plan is a vital first step to letting your family know exactly what your wishes are for when you pass away. Otherwise, your family may be left in the dark, or worse yet, fight over what they think they remember you saying in the past.
These are just a few of the numerous reasons why you should sit down with a trusted estate planning attorney and put together a plan for you and your family to make sure your wishes are met.
Speak to an Experienced St. Charles Trust and Estate Lawyer Today
Polaris Law Group takes pride in offering an effective, full-service experience to our clients. If you want to ensure that you and your family are properly cared for, contact Polaris Law Group’s experienced trust and estate attorneys, Scott Stork and Raymond Chandler today. Scott and Raymond are seasoned estate planning attorneys and are members of the National Network of Estate Planning Attorneys, the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys, and Elder Counsel. Schedule a meeting by phone or by filling out a quick contact form today.