One of the biggest misconceptions people have about estate planning is that it is only for older and wealthy people. Nothing could be farther from the truth. In fact, waiting to do your estate planning often leads to far higher costs and puts your loved ones at greater risk.
Here are 3 reasons why estate planning is one of the best investments you can make and is fundamentally necessary to ensure the future well-being of your family.
1. Is Aunt Lisa the best guardian for little Lucy (or Buster)?
What happens if you are unable to care for those that rely on you for care? Who will take the reins? Will they go through a costly legal proceeding to be able to do so? Will your family members fight over “who” should be guardian? What happens in the interim? Is your furry family member going to be taken care of? Is your chosen “guardian” mentally and financially equipped to raise your children (furry or otherwise)? These are all questions a qualified estate planning attorney should be able to discuss with you to ensure Lucy and Buster are well taken care of.
2. You are not immortal, but your debt may be…
The highest liability amongst millennials is not student loans, but credit card debt. While both debts are concerning, this debt creates financial obligations for your loved ones that does not just automatically disappear at your death. Family members who co-signed loans or were named on one of your joint bank accounts, for instance, can be directly responsible to repay your liabilities.
Even if your family does not inherit your debt, creditors still attempt to collect it from them. This collection process is mentally (and potentially financially) taxing on your family. A well-drafted estate plan can greatly minimize the negative impact that financial baggage has on your family and your estate.
3. It is not about you, it is about your loved ones.
Processing the death of a loved one should be enough of a burden for your family. What you often do not realize is the mountain of tasks and decisions that your family will face in the event of your death or incapacity. These headache inducing tasks are exacerbated when there is no plan in place—leading to more tasks, more headaches, and pure chaos.
A well-drafted estate plan will take the pressure off your family. You will make the decisions so they are not forced to. You will instruct them on the location of your financial accounts, how you want your assets passed, your funeral wishes, and even how your social media accounts should be handled. Further, you will be able to dictate who will receive information on your person and your assets. Non-married couples, for instance, may find themselves outside the hospital during an emergency without a proper healthcare power of attorney and HIPAA release.
Take the time to invest in your loved ones and ensure chaos is not the legacy you leave for Lucy or Buster.