Every adult should have a will but the reality is that too many people still haven’t taken the time to make one. Maybe that’s because it seems a little too overwhelming or perhaps the thought of planning for the future once you’ve passed away is simply too difficult.
Regardless of the reason behind it, dealing with the inevitable doesn’t have to be stressful or confusing. By planning for the future today, you’re relieving your loved ones of additional challenges they may face when you die by making your last wishes known to them, ahead of time. Taking care of matter such as this sooner rather than later will give you peace of mind.
Your estate plan
Your estate is essentially everything you own from your home, savings, car, jewelry, mortgage; anything with a monetary value. Putting together an estate plan will determine how you will distribute your assets to your beneficiaries (friends and family) after you pass away.
Your estate plan will not only hold this information, it also deals with other important decisions that you can outline in advance. For example, you may have specific preferences on medical directives or guidelines when it comes to wanting to be an organ donor or being kept on life support.
It can also include instructions for your funeral or memorial service. Some people outline their burial preferences and pre-purchase caskets to ensure everything is how they’d like it to be. You can also point family members in the direction of services and Funeral Directors who can help with funeral planning. This way your loved ones will not be burdened with these tough decisions when the time comes.
While inheritance can be a great legacy to leave to your loved ones, it can also come with a surprising amount of fees, taxes and other financial risks. One of its biggest risks is the legal process for settling an estate which often includes paying debts, assets and filing tax returns. You can minimize these costs by using trusts, getting life insurance and other estate planning tools.
Your estate plan isn’t just for issues that arise once you’ve passed away. It can be used to address any challenges that may arise while you’re still alive. If you should become incapacitated where you lack the ability to make decisions or communicate, your family could be forced to make decisions on your behalf. By putting together these documents, everything will be handled the way you want it to.
Creating your estate plan and will isn’t something you do once and then never have to worry about again. You can review and update it every five years when something major changes in your life. The birth of a new child, loss of a spouse, a divorce, or unexpected financial gain is all reason to revisit your plan.
Failing to create a last will or estate plan could leave the people you care about the most in a vulnerable position both financially and socially.