The title to this blog is meant to be a startling joke. However, your estate plan is not a joke.
Incredibly, nearly half of Americans do not have an estate plan placing the future of their families and loved ones at risk.
Dead Yet?- Time to Create an Estate Plan
Upon death, an estate plan distributes property based on your wishes and the needs of your family. Creating an estate plan can be a simple and inexpensive process allowing you to control how your assets will to be transferred to your loved ones or charitable organizations. If you do not have an effective estate plan when you die, your affairs may have to pass through probate, and your property could be distributed differently than what you would like.
Dead Yet?- Why People Avoid Preparing an Estate Plan
If it is so clear that an estate plan is a critical document, why do over half of Americans die without one?
Here are my assumptions based on my interviews with countless clients. One of the primary reasons that people avoid preparing an estate plan is they don’t think they need one. Yes, there are some really limited instances when a person may not need one. That, however, is the exception to the rule. The issue is not whether someone needs an estate plan but rather how extensive the plan must be.
The most common reasons people avoid preparing an estate plan is that they do not want to face their own mortality. It is clear that the decision to create an estate plan can evoke many emotions. It forces you to address some of the most difficult questions of life. And, it forces you to face the dynamics of an often complicated family.
Many people feel that if and when they do memorialize their final wishes that it may tempt fate or invite ill will to fall upon them. These irrational and unfounded fears may be hard to overcome. A skilled attorney can guide you through the psychological impact which results from being forced to ponder your last wishes.
Dead Yet? – What will an Estate Plan do for me?
An estate plan is tailored to the specific needs of the client. Many estate plans consist of a Last Will and Testament, Revocable Living Trust, Patient Advocate Designation, and Power of Attorney. An effective estate plan can:
- Determine exactly who receives the property that you worked so hard to accumulate over a lifetime. This property may include the family home, investments, bank accounts, stocks and bonds and valuable collectibles. Without an estate plan, state law will dictate who receives your assets.
- Ensure financial security for your family.
- Allow you to provide for non-family members, including friends, charities or institutions. Without an estate plan, the state laws determine how your assets are distributed.
- Allow you to distribute heirlooms to specific individuals or institutions.
- Minimize inheritance taxes.
Creating an estate plan should not be costly or time consuming. Most importantly, it will provide you with peace of mind. Please don’t wait until your dead!
The Probate Pro can assist to create an estate plan. By calling The Probate Pro, you will be provided with a free consultation to compassionately discuss your affairs. Give us a call to begin the process (248) 399-3300.