It would be simple to state that every adult needs an estate plan, and that would be true. But, that reason seems very easy to ignore. It’s one of those woulda, coulda, shoulda things and we all procrastinate. Here are 13 intriguing reasons you need an estate plan.
If you don’t have an estate plan:
1. Your children may be placed into foster care, if you are incapacitated, in a car accident, or have a stroke.
2. The court will choose who raises your children if you die, and it might not be who you would want.
3. If you become incapacitated, the court will appoint a guardian for your money and assets, and it might be a stranger.
4. You don’t get to pick who gets your assets when you die; state intestacy laws will dictate who gets what.
5. Your assets will go through probate which means that a lot of money and time will be wasted. In addition, your loved ones will experience increased hassle, stress, and your personal and financial business will be made public, for all to see.
6. Your estate may pay unnecessary taxes, reducing the assets that go to your loved ones.
7. Your spouse or children’s inheritances may be seized by creditors or divorcing spouses.
8. You may disqualify a special needs beneficiary from receiving governmental assistance.
9. Your assets may fuel a drug, alcohol, or gambling addiction.
10. You will leave a greater burden on your family than if you had a plan in place.
11. Your loved ones likely won’t know about all of your assets, so they may go unclaimed. The Wall Street Journal reports that there are currently $32.9 billion in unclaimed assets.
12. Your loved ones won’t know what to do with your beloved pet.
13. Your loved ones won’t know your final arrangement wishes.
With an estate plan, you can stay in control of your health care and finances, care for loved ones, reduce the burden on loved ones, and save money. Consult with a qualified estate planning attorney to get a comprehensive estate plan in place.
The Law Office of Michael Robinson, P.C. is a member of the American Academy of Estate Planning Attorneys.