Many of the tasks that you are supposed to accomplish as an adult are frankly unpleasant. Estate planning certainly seems unpleasant to the average individual. You don’t want to think about what might happen if you die or how miserable life could be if you have Alzheimer’s disease when you’re older.
However, thinking about the most unpleasant aspects of growing older and what will happen after you die is the only real way to prepare for the future. When you recognize the benefits of estate planning, it can be easier to end the procrastination about creating your own will and estate plan.
Your wishes determine what happens
You may have a closer relationship with one of your children than the others. You may want that child to receive more valuable property from your estate or possibly specific assets that have emotional value for the child or for you. On the other hand, you may want to designate some of your resources for a charitable organization or someone outside of your family.
If you don’t create your own estate planning documents, intestate succession laws determine what happens with your property, which typically means that your closest family members will inherit everything.
You can keep probate costs lower
The way that you plan your estate will determine how much it costs to administer it. Although every estate is unique, experts estimate that those who die without a will can expect to pay significantly more for the probate process than those who have a will in place. Although you may not have to pay the money directly, those funds will come out of your estate and will diminish what you get to pass on to your loved ones when you die.
You can protect yourself as you age
Do your family members know about your preferences regarding anatomical gifts and pain management? Do you have someone capable of handling your finances if you end up in a coma after having a stroke? An estate plan isn’t just a will. It can include powers of attorney and advance directives that protect you in an emergency and make it clear what you want others to do on your behalf.
Your estate plan gives you an opportunity to take the pressure off of your loved ones in the future and leave something meaningful for them. Taking the time to create a thorough estate plan now will protect you and the people that love you for the foreseeable future.