Nobody likes to think about the point when they are no longer here, but it does pay to draw up a will or sort out an estate plan in advance of your death. This is also best done when you are younger, fit and healthy, and of sound mind to avoid any conflicts or problems that may arise after your death. Furthermore, to die without leaving a will is a situation that can cause serious problems, especially if your estate amounts to anything substantial. Learn the difference between a will and an estate plan.
There is a lot to be said for choosing estate planning in place of the traditional will. Not least the fact that trusts can be created and sorted before the event – indeed many years before -and succession plans put in place. But why would you choose to set up an estate plan rather than simply dictate who gets what and when in a will? Here we will have a look at the advantages of a professionally drawn-up estate plan over a will so that you can check the circumstances and see which route is for you.
Advantages of an Estate Plan
When considering why you need an estate plan, it is important for the attorney that is helping you draw one up to understand your financial situation. The detail that goes into this stage of the process may bring up certain factors that you were unaware of regarding your finances. It’s easy to overlook certain areas should you have a business to run. For example, knowing what you are worth and the assets you have can be an eye-opener. That’s the first benefit of setting up an estate plan: it helps you to clearly understand your financial situation.
The second main benefit of a well-drawn up estate plan is that it allows you to set up trusts to help those you love to plan their future. If your estate plan involves a trust for a young child to be granted when they reach a certain age, they can rest assured they have a fall-back option should things go wrong. You have that peace of mind too. This can even extend to a succession plan in which you can set aside trust funds for children of your children, and so on. The advantage here is that a trust is fixed and cannot be challenged as may the terms of a standard will.
Should you have a business that will need handing over on your death, an estate plan allows you to determine who takes the reins when the time comes – or if you wish them to do so before. That this can be done legally and soundly early on avoids any future disputes between siblings. Everyone knows who is due to take on what responsibilities in the future and can begin working towards that now.
Property, assets, works of art, and money can all be included in the estate plan, and everything can be made clear in advance.
Ask anyone who has done so, and they will tell you that the peace of mind gained from sorting out your estate plan early is worth the investment. You will know that everything you have worked for is going to the place and person you want it to, that there will be no legal pitfalls, and that everyone knows in advance that they are looked after for the future. It doesn’t get much better than that, so talk to an attorney with expertise in estate planning, and you’ll soon have a plan ready that is acceptable to all.
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