Estate planning is a topic that people often avoid discussing. However, we believe it is a crucial aspect of financial and personal well-being that often gets overlooked until it’s too late. An estate plan encompasses a set of legal documents and strategies designed to manage your assets and ensure your wishes are carried out after your passing. Regardless of your age or financial status, here are five reasons why you should consider an estate plan:
- Asset Distribution
One of the primary purposes of an estate plan is to dictate how your assets should be distributed among your beneficiaries after your passing. Without a plan in place, the distribution of your assets will be subject to state laws, which may not align with your wishes. Additionally, your estate may become subject to probate, which can be a time-consuming and expensive legal process. A well-thought-out estate plan allows you to specify who should inherit your assets, ensuring that the correct people or charities receive what you intended in the most efficient way possible.
- Guardianship for Minor Children
If you have minor children, naming a guardian for them is an essential aspect of estate planning. In the event of your untimely passing, your estate plan can designate a trusted individual to take care of your children. Failing to establish an estate plan can result in a court deciding who will be responsible for your children’s future, which might not align with your preferences.
- Minimizing Taxes and Expenses
Estate taxes and probate costs has the potential to reduce the assets you leave behind for your loved ones. A well-crafted estate plan can put into place various strategies to reduce estate taxes as well as the expenses associated with probate and administration. This allows you to preserve more of your assets and help to provide a smoother transfer of wealth.
- Healthcare and End-of-Life Decisions
An estate plan goes beyond just finances; it also addresses your healthcare and end-of-life decisions. Through documents like a living will and a healthcare directive, you can outline your preferences for medical treatment, resuscitation, life support, and organ donation. These documents ensure that your healthcare choices are respected, even if you are unable to communicate them yourself due to incapacity.
- Peace of Mind
One of the most overlooked, yet valuable, benefits of estate planning is the peace of mind it can provide. Knowing that your affairs are in order and your loved ones are protected can help alleviate stress and uncertainty during challenging times. An estate plan can help ensure that your intentions are carried out, and it can help prevent disputes by sparing your family from the burden of making difficult decisions on your behalf.
Estate planning is an important step that everyone, not just the wealthy or the elderly, should take. By creating an estate plan, you establish a plan that honors your wishes, cares for your loved ones, and that helps to preserve your legacy.
It is important to remember that estate planning is an ongoing process. Each estate plan will be personal and unique, as each family presents its own priorities, needs, and dynamics. Once your estate plan has been established, it should be reviewed every few years or after major life events to confirm that the parameters are still appropriate. If you have any questions, connect with a member of your Waverly Advisors team directly, or ask a member of our team to reach out to you.
Disclosure: You should not assume that any information provided serves as the receipt of, or as a substitute for, personalized investment advice from Waverly Advisors, LLC (“Waverly”). This article reflects information available at the time it was written and should be used as a reference only. Talk to your Waverly advisor, or a professional advisor of your choosing, for the most current information and for guidance specific to your situation. Please Note: The scope of the services to be provided depends upon the needs of the client and the terms of the engagement. A copy of Waverly’s current written disclosure Brochure and Form CRS (Customer Relationship Summary) discussing our advisory services and fees remain available at https://waverly-advisors.com.