Estate planning is often something we put off because we feel the topic of our deaths is uncomfortable, or we feel we are too young to deal with the subject. We may even feel estate planning isn’t necessary because we aren’t wealthy enough to have an estate. The truth is, though, that we all have estates; we all want to have a say in how our assets will be divided, no matter how few they are. Besides, death may be an uncomfortable subject but it can come at any time so it is never too early to think about estate planning.
There are several things that should be included in any estate plan. You should begin thinking about who your beneficiaries are, what you want to leave them and when you want them to receive the gift. For instance, small children might not inherit money until they reach a certain age.
One of the first things to address in an estate planning document is your own care, should you become disabled. You should also discuss funeral arrangements and let your family know if you have a pre-arranged and pre-paid funeral.
Include instructions about the guardianship of minor children. If you want someone besides family to raise your children, you need to state that in your plan.
Planning ahead allows you to think about issues. For instance, even though you may be well-meaning a lump sum gift may disrupt the services special needs relatives are receiving because of financial qualifications. Thinking the issue through may help you decide alternate ways to provide for the relative.
Estate planning can make passing on your possessions easier. Anticipating problems and dealing with them in the document is like giving another gift to your loved ones, especially at a time when they might be overwhelmed. It is important to understand the language and intent of the document, though, to avoid unintended complications.
For more information on this important subject, contact us. No matter what stage of life you are in, we can help you plan to leave your legacy to the ones you love.