Why is it so hard to see the importance of Estate Planning?
The importance of estate planning isn’t subjective, it is important for everyone, and will affect each and every one of us at some point in our lives. For many, the realization of its importance comes when someone we love has failed to do any planning at all.
Estate planning is not vital for some people and unnecessary for others. It’s not an expensive luxury or out of reach for the average American. Perhaps what makes us minimize its importance and put it off is that it’s just an uncomfortable subject. So uncomfortable, in fact, that most people never discuss it. The people who have estate plans don’t talk about them, the people who don’t have estate plans, don’t ask about them and few of either group teach their kids about them.
It may seem scary or morbid to think of divvying up your money and possessions before you’re gone, but scarier still is the fact that if you don’t, the State, not your family, gets to make those decisions.
If You Don’t Create Your Own Estate Plan, the State Has One for You
If you haven’t decided where your money and other property are to go after your death, your estate will go through a process called probate, in which the pre-determined laws of the state in which you live will direct how your assets are managed and distributed. In Arizona, this process typically begins with the appointment of a Personal Representative (a person who has the authority to manage, sell, and distribute your property). If you have not appointed a Personal Representative in a valid Will, then the law determines who may serve and who has priority to serve.
The Difference a Will or Trust Can Make
Aside from the fact that, with a little paperwork, you determine who will manage your estate and you choose what you leave behind for each your loved ones, a well thought out estate plan may also help you minimize the amount that the government takes, and protect your property from certain creditors.
By creating a Will and/or a Trust, you can:
- Decide who you want raising your kids in the event that you and your spouse both pass away
- Set money aside for children’s support and education
- Choose your beneficiaries and determine what and when they will receive distributions
- Provide for yourself if you are incapacitated
- Choose who will administer your estate to your beneficiaries
- Make your own funeral arrangements
- Donate to charities
- Decide what will happen to your small business after you’re gone
- Protect your assets from certain creditors
- Protect a beneficiary’s distribution from their creditors
- Minimize the taxes the estate may have to pay
- Provide for pets
Your passing can either be a burden on, or leave a legacy for, your family. If the idea of working on this alone is too much for you, we are here to help. We have decades of experience helping our clients provide for their loved ones. The peace of mind that comes with knowing you have done everything you can for those you love is well worth the time and effort. We would like to help you find that peace of mind.