If you have been putting off the estate planning process, here are 10 reasons why you should stop procrastinating and get your affairs in order once and for all:
1. You want to decide who raises your children: If you unexpectedly pass away, a judge who doesn’t know you, your children’s needs, or your wishes, will choose the guardian of your minor children.
2. You want to protect your assets: Estate planning can shield your assets from creditors, predators, potential lawsuit damages, and other liabilities that could cause stress and anxiety.
3. You have a loved one living with disabilities or special needs: Those living with disabilities often rely on public benefits such as Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or Medicaid. However, these benefits are means tested and even receiving seemingly innocuous benefits, such as groceries, could jeopardize his or her SSI benefits. Estate planning can assure that he or she is prepared for life without you.
4. You want to keep Uncle Sam away: The maximum estate and gift tax rate is 40%. Thus, 40% of the assets you leave to your loved ones at your death, as well as those you give away during your lifetime could be subject to tax. With estate planning, you can defer or even eliminate any estate or gift tax.
5. You have vulnerable beneficiaries: If you have minor children that you wish to inherit your assets but are concerned that they are unable to manage money, you can control the amount and frequency of their distributions so they don’t receive a lump sum of money before they are mature enough to handle it.
6. You have a blended family: If you have stepfamily, a new spouse, or family members who don’t get along, passing your legacy onto the next generation can be complicated. You want to make sure your family dynamics are accounted for and everyone is treated fairly in your plan.
7. You want to spare your family from “drama” after you pass: The potential for family strife is high after the death of a loved one. Family members often disagree on what the decedent would have wanted, causing many families to fight and fall apart. Estate planning takes the guesswork out of the equation so that your family is saved from the unnecessary drama and heartache.
8. You’d like to shield your savings from nursing homes: The cost of health care continues to rise. Long term care costs, such nursing homes, can be a crippling burden on you and your family if you are unprepared. Estate planning can provide a safety net for these costs in the event you can no longer take care of yourself.
9. You are worried about your child’s spouse: Living in California, a community property state, means that half of your child’s inheritance could disappear if he or she gets divorced. With estate planning, you can ensure that this does not happen.
10. Privacy is important to you: Without an estate plan, your family’s “dirty laundry” is aired out in probate court, not to mention that you’ll have to pay probate fees that often outweigh the cost of a basic estate plan. An estate plan can keep your family out of probate court when you die and avoid everyone’s name and inheritance details being published for scam artists to prey on.
If any of these apply to you, contact our office for a free one-hour consultation so that you can learn how to use trusts, wills, and other tools to protect what’s important to you.
It couldn’t be easier and there’s really no reason to procrastinate.
Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (800) 831-1613.