Having an estate plan can seem like something that only extremely wealthy people need to pass on their vast estates and mansions to their children. The idea that estate plans are only for the rich may be why more than half of all Americans do not have one. Estate plans actually offer a lot more than many people expect them to, but despite their benefits, do you need one?
How you can benefit from an estate plan
Estate plans are not just for extremely wealthy people. Proper planning can benefit people of any income level and their families. Just a few benefits of a strong estate plan include:
- Guardianships – if you have children or take care of a vulnerable adult, a guardianship can allow you to appoint someone to look after them if something should happen to you. A guardianship can keep your loved ones from becoming a ward of the state without you looking after them and ensuring that someone you trust is looking after them.
- Wills and trusts – planning how to distribute your assets after your passing keeps your loved ones from fighting over your estate. When a family fights over assets, it can create a permanent rift in their relationship, which is why it is important to prevent that fighting before it ever happens.
- Health care directives – when you are seriously injured or ill, you may not be able to act on your own behalf to get the medical treatment you need. Instead of leaving your loved ones guessing about your wishes, they can look to your health care directive for the answers and guidance they need.
An estate plan is not just a way of passing on money; it allows people to declare and protect their last wishes in a way that no one can interfere with. With the stroke of a pen, you can protect yourself, your loved ones, and your estate with a thorough estate plan.
Start your planning today
If you do not have an estate plan or have not updated your plan in a long time, now is the best time to talk to an estate planning attorney. There is no telling what tomorrow may bring, so speak to a lawyer to make sure you are ready for anything.