6 Reasons to Make an Estate Plan Now

Written by Robert T. Nickerson

​No one likes talking about death. Even thinking about it sets off a lot of uncomfortable emotions. This is often why most people wait for a while before people finally consider planning around for the worst case scenario. Sometimes…they don’t make any plans at all. The stress becomes too great and simply hope that things will work out for the best. What most don’t know is that leaving your family with no plan only makes things worse.
 
Reading the results of a recent poll from Gallup, as of late June of 2021, less the 50% of Americans have no will or estate plan. What makes things more shocking is that the numbers are almost the same as they were back in 1990. 
 
More data from Gallup also shows that the majority of people who have estate plans or wills are in the upper-middle class range or higher. This also means that that the younger you are, the less likely you are to have something planned. This is somewhat common as most from age twenty to fourth-five simply think their too young and healthy to be thinking about the eventual debt of death.
 
After 2020 with the pandemic, life has shown that no one is immortal. Nothing is ever set in stone. An young man shouldn’t assume that curveballs won’t be thrown at them. Our office has gone through a variety of age ranges and we can proudly say it’s never too early to consider what to do with your assets and what your final wishes are.
 
Here are six important reasons to start thinking about an estate plan.
 
1.Not having an estate plan leads to serious consequences
A major misconception is that without a will or estate plan, then ones assets are distributed to their family. States have different laws when it comes to distribution and they sometimes do leave it to family. But as we’ve seen in our office, a lot of families are going to want different types of distribution.
 
Let’s say one has a spouse and two children. All the assets are distributed equally three-way. But what if one of the children is special needs and isn’t capable of handling finances? What if the spouse needs a larger share to pay for her living? What if one of the sons is successful and may not need as large of a share. You see how a lot of questions start to come up. 
 
Most peoples wishes are rarely an A or B answer. Like life itself, things are complicated. We’ve heard stories about celebrities like Aretha Franklin, Prince, or Marylyn Monroe. None of them had wills or estate plans. This resulted in their families or loved ones facing bureaucratic red tape in probate court due to the size of their assets.  
 
2.Estate plans allows parents to name a guardian for their kids
Another important aspect of wills and estate plans is that they legally set up someone you trust to care for your children should something happen to you. It’s unpleasant to think that you couldn’t be in your kids lives, but this is a scenario where its better to be safe than sorry.
 
I would hope that you have someone else in the family or a close friend you think could be a responsible parent. Without a guardian set up, then a judge would be the one to decide where the children would go. This seems like something no one would want. 
 
This is something I’d advise to consider very carefully. And this wouldn’t be for just a one-time pick; there’s a chance you may want to change that ten years from now. 
 
3.The care of your pets
Who doesn’t love their dogs or cats?…or birds, horses, lizards, snakes, or whatever you call your animal companions? Yes, our pets truly become family. The big problem is that the state won’t see Rover as family…their seen as property. This has resulted in some interesting laws in regards to how assets are carried through animals.
 
Did you know that while you can’t leave your dog money, you can name a pet guardian and even set up a trust just for them. You can even list your wishes on what needs to be done for the good of your companion. We don’t want to see them go back to a shelter.
 
4.Tax ramifications
Paying taxes is just as exciting as a thrilling roller coaster ride. Of course, I’m kidding. Taxation of an inherited estate is inevitable, but with the right legal documents, the burden can be reduced. What we mean is that with an estate plan, it’s easier to set up charitable donations and gifts to heirs. 
 
The law will vary from state to state, but with an estate plan, there’ll be no need to pay taxes twice.
 
5.Creating peace of mind
In a way, a will or estate isn’t for you; it’s for your family. Your name may be on it and it is your assets your protecting. But when you think about the final product, it’ll be your family that reaps the benefits as you’ll be gone. They’ll also be the ones to suffer the consequences should nothing be planned. 
 
Without an estate plan, then all the stress will being going to your loved ones when slapped with the court dates, legal costs, and ramifications of the judges decisions. This has resulted in a lot of internal fighting between families. 
 
6.You can’t put if off forever
Your not Spider-Man. Your not Wonder Woman. Your not Deadpool. We are just people who will age no matter how healthy we are. It seems that our most valuable commodity is time. Things always seem like they go well…until they don’t.
 
I mentioned before that life throws everyone a roadblock to get around. With a will and estate plan, it may not aging, but it will give you less work to do in the long run. It’ll allow you to pass those roadblocks easier and make things simple for the people who love you. 

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