10 Reasons to Prepare an Estate Plan
Prepare for Incapacity– In the unlikely event you were to become incapacitated who would make your financial and medical decisions on your behalf? Without an estate plan, a Probate Judge, after a public hearing, would appoint a Guardian and Conservator to act on your behalf.
Provide for the care of your minor children– Who will raise your minor children if you die? Without an estate plan a Probate Judge will determine who cares for your children. With a plan, you nominate a Guardian and Conservator to care for your minor children.
Provide for children with special needs– Without a plan, a child’s Medicaid and SSI benefits may be a risk and he or she may have to use his or her inheritance to pay for care. With a plan, Medicaid and SSI benefits can be preserved, and inheritance can be used on quality of life expenditures.
Protect Assets– Many of today’s adult children are facing issues stemming from fiscal irresponsibility, alcohol and drug dependency, unstable marriages. With a plan, you can protect your children’s inheritance from divorcing spouses and unforeseen creditors. In addition, you can preserve assets for your children’s use and prevent them from wasting those assets, leaving a legacy for generations.
You own a Business– Who will manage your business in the event of your incapacity or death? Without a plan, you may not have a clear successor or sufficient liquidity on death, thus risking that your family could lose control of the business. With a plan, you choose who will own and control the business after you are gone, and make provisions to ensure monies are available to continue the business.
You own IRA, 401(k) or Life Insurance– A proper estate plan will coordinate your beneficiary designations with your overall legacy plan, ensuring the assets transfer to your chosen beneficiaries in a tax efficient manner.
Charitable Planning– With a plan, you can make a charitable contribution to your favorite organization, while reducing your estate taxes and providing for your family.
Blended family-With a plan you determine which assets go to your current spouse and children, and children from a prior marriage. Without a plan, children from different marriages may not be treated as you wish.
Control– With a proper estate plan in place, you can make sure your estate goes to whom you want, when you want and the way you want. Without a plan, the government will determine to whom your estate is distributed and the manner in which it is distributed.
Peace of Mind– A proper estate plan grants you and your loved ones peace of mind to enjoy life to the fullest, knowing that you have a plan in place for the unknowns in life and have provided for your loved ones, leaving a legacy that will last generations.
Already have a Plan?
10 Reasons to Review your Estate Plan
Estate plans should be reviewed at least every three years. In addition, should any of the following changes in your circumstances occur you should take steps to review your estate plan with your estate planning attorney.
Purchase a new asset;
Change in your health condition;
Death in the family (or someone named in your documents);
Large changes in the value of your assets (increases or decreases);
Relocation to another state;
If you have an IRA or 401(k);
Substantial passage of time (because of changes in state and federal laws)
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