Estate plans are something that everyone would technically benefit from, but many simply put off or believe to be non-essential. There are a few circumstances that can accelerate the need for an estate plan. Here are several reasons to create an estate plan and avoid further delay.
1 – Provide Support for Children
If you have children and want to protect their future, then you absolutely need an estate plan. First and foremost, you’ll want to designate guardians for your children. Secondly, you’ll want to make sure your assets will financially support them both now and into the future. Only a well-formed plan can ensure that.
2 – Control Who Receives Your Assets Upon Your Death
Even if you don’t have children, you probably want to have some control over who receives your assets. Otherwise, Massachusetts law and the courts will end up deciding for you based on Intestate Succession. This is a predetermined logic on who your heirs will be (in lieu of a will) based on whether you are married, have children, and/or have living parents. If you do not agree with the logic, the only way to control who receives your assets upon your death is to create an estate plan.
3 – Designate a Personal Representative (Executor)
If you want someone, in particular, to manage your estate and carry out your wishes, that’s another reason to create an estate plan. You can assign what’s called a personal representative (or executor). This person will accumulate your assets (liquify them as needed), pay off your debts, file your taxes, and distribute the remaining assets per your wishes. Distribution may occur all at once or over time. Assigning a trusted person gives you peace of mind and can minimize mishandling of estate assets.
4 – Minimize Taxes
You’ve heard the saying that the only thing certain in life is death and taxes. Although taxes are certain, the amount you will pay is not. There are ways to minimize the tax burden of your estate. A carefully crafted estate plan based on your specific assets can help reduce the taxes owed, leaving more money to your beneficiaries. Minimizing taxes is one of the most important reasons to create an estate plan.
5- Avoid Probate
Probate is the legal process that happens after you die. It can take anywhere from several months to even years. During this time, your beneficiaries will receive nothing from your estate. This can be detrimental, especially if you have beneficiaries who need assistance from your estate to cover basic living expenses and/or critical medical care. An estate plan can avoid probate or, at the very least, reduce the amount of time needed to complete the probate process.
Summary of Reasons to Create an Estate Plan
The above are just 5 of many important reasons to create an estate plan. There’s a saying, “failing to plan is planning to fail.” Don’t risk your estate and your family’s future. Create an estate plan today! Contact us to schedule a consultation with our Massachusetts estate planning attorneys.