When money is tight, the last thing you may be thinking about is spending it on estate planning. While some people may feel that paying money to an attorney to help them with their estate plan is an unnecessary expense, nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, an estate plan should be one of the primary things that you spend your money on, even during a recession.
If you invest in a solid estate plan, you can rest easy knowing that your family will be taken care of, even if something were to happen to you. In the event that something should happen to you and you have failed to put an estate plan in place, your loved ones will be faced with the cost of probating your estate, as well as the problems associated with probate. It can take a great deal of time for an estate to go through the probate process, and during that process, all of your assets will be tied up.
One of the biggest mistakes that many people make is to believe that a will is sufficient to protect their family and their estate. While this may be true for some, in most cases, a solid estate plan involves much more than just a simple will. A good estate plan will often include a Durable Power of Attorney, as well as a Health Care Proxy. With these two documents, you can be sure that your financial and legal affairs will be attended to if you should become incapacitated; plus you can appoint someone to make medical decisions for you, if you are unable to make those decisions yourself.
In some cases, it is also a good idea to include a Living Trust in your estate plan. With a trust, you can fund your assets to the trust and keep them from going through the probate process, if you were to die. This means that your assets can pass directly to the trust’s beneficiaries without the need to wait through probate. The trust also provides your family with a better means to manage your assets if you are incapacitated.
It is true that a solid estate plan put together by an experienced attorney will be more expensive than a do-it-yourself will, but you can save your family a lot of money and problems by investing in this now.