If you are putting off the important work of creating an estate plan, you are not alone. Most people come to the end of their lives with no provisions for their loved ones or their assets, leaving others to make critical decisions. Often, these decisions are nothing like what the deceased would have made if he or she had taken the time to make an estate plan.
Some people may have more urgent reasons to make a will or establish a trust, such as having a loved one with special needs or needing to protect a family business. If you do not relate to these situations, you may need to understand some more common reasons why having an estate plan, sooner rather than later, is a wise idea.
What can an estate plan do for you?
When most people die, they leave behind three important things: assets, debts and loved ones. If you do not establish a plan for your assets and debts, your loved ones may end up with a complicated mess. It is expensive and time-consuming to take an estate through probate without a will or trust. Without direction or an explanation of your wishes, your loved ones may end up in costly disputes that could damage your family permanently.
On the other hand, with the help of a North Carolina attorney, you can determine the most effective and appropriate instruments to provide security and peace of mind for your family instead of confusion and frustration. Your estate plan can achieve the following and more:
- Protecting your loved ones from grief and uncertainty by designating someone to make medical and financial decisions if you should become incapacitated
- Saving your family the trouble of probate, which may keep them from obtaining the funds they need for months or years
- Avoiding reducing your loved ones’ inheritances by limiting the amount of taxes your estate will pay
- Providing protection for heirs who may be too young, too immature or otherwise unable to handle a large inheritance
- Establishing a guardian for the physical and financial care of your children if you should die while they are still minors
- Creating a trust to protect your assets from future liabilities
Once you have your estate plan in place, you can revisit your documents frequently to ensure they are still relevant and up-to-date. You may find it necessary from time to time to alter your beneficiaries, add new instruments to your plan or revise the assets you are protecting. However, you will certainly have peace of mind knowing you have created this plan to protect your family.