Your estate plan should never be an afterthought or something you throw together just to technically "cover your bases." You need to give it the proper amount of consideration and planning so that it really addresses what your family needs. Remember, this is your final chance to help them move forward with their lives, and you don't want to make any mistakes.
Below are a few reasons why creating an estate plan is so beneficial:
- It can reduce the tax burden for your heirs. Your plan can lower your estate tax obligations and ensure that your heirs actually get more of the estate.
- It can help to prevent fights and disputes between your heirs. Just trusting them to find a fair solution on their own, without the guidance of a plan, sets up a situation that could become complicated and messy.
- It can help protect family members who need it. For instance, maybe your children are still minors. Should you pass away unexpectedly, your estate plan can protect and distribute their assets, set them up with a guardian and make sure someone provides for them and takes cares of them.
- It can give you a greater say in the distribution of your assets. If you want to do anything unique, like using trusts or giving money to charity, this is your chance to set up that plan in advance.
All told, your estate plan needs to be ready long before your family actually needs to use it. Make sure that you understand all of the legal steps you'll have to take to create an estate plan that will do exactly what you need it to do.