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As we have watched the hit TV series EMPIRE, there are several messages within the storyline we may have missed.  Here are 7 reasons why estate planning is important for you to address right now.
1.  Without a plan, the state is in
control.

If you pass away without an estate plan, you give up control over who inherits your property. Instead, your state’s “intestacy” laws kick in, and dictate how your assets are divided up and passed on. Having an estate plan is the only way to ensure that your hand-carved assets go to whom you want, when you want.

2. Without a plan, your children could be in limbo.

If you’re the parent of young children, the thought of them being cared for by someone you haven’t chosen probably terrifies you. And yet, if you don’t leave a will nominating a guardian for your minor children, you will have no voice in the decision.

3.  Proper planning can protect your children from creditors and lawsuits.

If your children inherit your property through your state’s intestacy laws (or if you leave property to them outright), that property is vulnerable to their creditors. It’s treated just like your kids’ other property and earnings, and it can be lost to creditors, lawsuits, and divorce – to name a few possibilities. The solution? You can leave assets to them in a trust, giving them a measure of protection.

4.  Proper planning can save your children from their own misjudgments and bad habits.

If you’re worried about your children having complete control over their inheritance, you can also leave their inheritance in trust and appoint someone else to make decisions about how the money will be used. This can protect your kids from losing their inheritance due to poor decision making, substance abuse problems, or just plain excessive spending.

5. Estate planning is absolutely essential for non-traditional families.

If you’re a member of a non-traditional family, you need an estate plan to make sure your assets are distributed to the loved ones you choose. Without a plan, state intestacy statutes distribute property according to a traditional family pattern. So, if you’re in a relationship other than a traditional marriage, your property would bypass your partner and go to your parents or other blood relatives, instead. Making sure this doesn’t happen is as simple as sitting down with the right lawyer.

6.  An estate plan lets you give generously to charity.

Do you want part of your estate to go to a favorite charity? Intestacy laws leave no room for charitable contributions. So, the only way to be charitable in death is to create estate plan. And, if you have concerns about taxes, charitable estate planning can afford you tax breaks you otherwise wouldn’t qualify for.

7. Sooner is always better.

No matter what your stage of life, the time to create an estate plan is now. Making a plan when you’re healthy and without an emergency looming, gives you time to explore all your options and make calm, rational choices. Plus, if you wait too long, you might miss the opportunity to plan at

 

Courtesy of Michael Eddings,Esq.

michael@eddingspc.com