October 19th-25th, 2020 is National Estate Planning Awareness Week, so if you’ve been thinking about creating an estate plan, but still haven’t checked it off your to-do list, now is the perfect time to get it done. If you or anyone you love has yet to create a plan, contact us to get your plan started today.
Your mind can concoct all sorts of rationalizations not to do planning. “I won’t care because I’ll be dead.” “I’m too young.” “That won’t happen to me.” “My family will know what to do.” But when you understand what estate planning is and what it protects against, you’ll realize there is no acceptable excuse for not having a plan. Here are 4 reasons why you can’t afford to go without an estate plan.
1. Your family will have to go to court
If you don’t have a plan, or if you only have a will (yes, even with a will), you’re forcing your family to go through probate upon your death. Probate is the legal process for settling your estate. It’s slow, costly, and public. But with no plan at all, probate can be a true nightmare for your loved ones.
Probate can take months, or even years, to complete and it can be expensive. Once all of your debts, taxes, court and attorney fees have been paid, there might be nothing left for anyone to inherit.
Yet, the most burdensome part of probate is the frustration and anxiety it can cause your loved ones. Rather than being able to focus on grieving your death, your family will be stuck dealing with a court system that can be challenging to navigate even in the best of circumstances.
With proper planning, your family can avoid that frustration and anxiety and they can keep the family affairs private. For example, with a Trust, we can ensure that your assets pass directly to your family upon your death, without the need for any court intervention. As long as you have planned properly, just about everything can happen privately and efficiently.
2. You have no control over who inherits your assets
If you die without a plan, the State dictates who inherits your assets through our intestate succession laws. Do not assume it all just goes to your spouse!
Spouses and children, jointly, are given top priority, followed by your other closest living family members. If you’re single with no children, your assets typically go to your parents or then siblings. None of those? Your assets trickle down to more distant relatives. If you want someone outside of your family to inherit your property, having a plan is an absolute must. If there are family members who should NOT receive your assets, you need a plan!
3. You have no control over your medical, financial, or legal decisions in the event of your incapacity
Most people assume estate planning only comes into play when they die. They are Dead Wrong! Pun fully intended! 🙂 Planning for your potential incapacity is just as important—if not more so. You have no control over your medical, financial, or legal decisions in the event of your incapacity if you have no plan in place.
Your family would have to petition the court to appoint a guardian to manage you and your affairs. Guardianship is costly, time consuming, and often traumatic. In fact, incapacity can be a much greater burden for your loved ones than your death.
Proper planning enables YOU to choose who can make your medical, financial, and legal decisions for you if you are incapacitated. You can also provide specific guidelines detailing how you want your care to be managed, including critical end-of-life decisions.
4. You have no control over who will raise your children
If you’re a parent of minor children without an estate plan, you have no control over who will raise your children upon your death or incapacity. If you don’t name legal guardians for your kids in a Will, a judge will decide who cares for your children. The judge could pick someone from your family you’d never want to raise them, or the judge could pick a stranger.
Your family could end up fighting one another in court over who gets custody. This can get extremely ugly and expensive!
If you have minor children, your number-one planning priority should be naming legal guardians to care for your children. Our Kids Protection Plan® guides you step-by-step through the process of creating the legal documents naming these guardians and ensuring your children are raised the way you’d want. Although a judge is always required to finalize the appointment of guardians for your children, you need to give the judge clear direction.
You also should identify people who can be with your children in the time before the permanent guardian is appointed. These are called “short-term guardians.” You can get this process started right now for free by visiting our user-friendly website: https://susanhuntlaw.com/kids-protection-plan/
No more excuses
As you can see, you just can’t afford putting off your estate planning any longer. The biggest benefit you stand to gain from putting a plan in place is the peace of mind that comes from knowing your loved ones will be provided and cared for no matter what happens to you. No More Excuses! Get this checked off your to-do list NOW!