Estate Planning is often misunderstood. People often think it’s only for the really rich, the really old, or both. But the truth is Estate Planning is appropriate for all of us. Any of us could have a tragedy strike, even early in life. And it’s not just our death that Estate Planning considers, it’s also for our incapacity. Estate Planning can provide sophisticated solutions for those with substantial means and complex needs. But, perhaps most importantly, Estate Planning also appoints those whom we trust to make decisions for us when we may not be able to make decisions for ourselves.
This brings the focus to the final, and most important reason to do Estate Planning. We’ll look at three reasons to do Estate Planning which have little or nothing to do with your age or your wealth.
First, if you have minor children, your Estate Plan, specifically your Will, is the appropriate place for you to name who you’d want to be guardian for your minor children after your death. The court will consider your wishes and what is in the best interests of your minor children when making its decision.
Next, you need an Estate Plan to set forth who will make decisions for you if you have a period of incapacity during your life, like many of us do. Without the appropriate powers of attorney in your Estate Plan, your loved ones would need to go to court to gain the power to make decisions for you. Such a court process would add cost, time, and aggravation to what would likely be a difficult situation already due to your incapacity.
Most importantly, you prepare an Estate Plan because you care. You care about your loved ones and you know your incapacity or your death would be difficult for them. A well-drafted Estate Plan can minimize the difficulties your loved ones will face and the risks there will be conflict among them. While your passing will likely be emotionally difficult for your loved ones, you can do your best to reduce the practical and financial stress of your passing.
All too often a poorly-drafted Estate Plan causes conflict when your loved ones need harmony the most. An experienced Estate Planning attorney who focuses their practice in Estate Planning can help you prepare an Estate Plan tailored to your needs and circumstances. You want to be remembered for the good times you’ve had and the memories you’ve created with your loved ones, not a mess left behind. See an experienced Estate Planning attorney to prepare an Estate Plan because you care about your family and your legacy.
Below are links to prior articles in this series.
Stephen C. Hartnett, J.D., LL.M.
Director of Education
American Academy of Estate Planning Attorneys, Inc.
9444 Balboa Avenue, Suite 300
San Diego, California 92123
Phone: (858) 453-2128