As you progress through life, the significance of establishing an estate plan grows in importance. Moving away from home, starting your career, buying a home, getting married, raising a family—with each new phase, the benefits of creating an estate plan increase. Having an estate plan puts you in the driver’s seat, even if you’re incapacitated or unexpectedly pass away. With an estate plan, you can express how you want your assets to be preserved and distributed, who will care for your minor children, and more. Creating your estate plan is a significant, important step in life.
Here are seven thoughts on how creating an estate plan benefits you and your loved ones.
Financial Protection for an Unmarried Partner
If you are not legally married but you live with someone you consider a life partner, you may want to make provisions so that some of your assets will go to them if you die. The longer the relationship lasts, the more critical this becomes. Without a will or trust in place, your life partner will probably receive nothing if you pass away unexpectedly. This is because the courts favor blood relatives over anyone else. If you don’t have an estate plan, the court decides who receives your assets.
Name Your Guardian
If you haven’t named your own caretaker such as a power of attorney for medical or financial management, the court will also make this decision on your behalf. Choosing someone you trust to protect you if you become incapacitated is an important decision you should want to make for yourself instead of allowing the legal system to choose for you.
Understand the Size and Contents of Your Estate
You may think you don’t need an estate plan because you don’t think you have much, but you might have more resources than you realize. Possessions like your vehicle, jewelry, and employee benefits like a 401k, life insurance, and stock options all add up.
Virtual items, like loyalty points, cryptocurrencies, photos, memberships, and subscriptions, are growing more and more popular and often have an associated value (either financial or sentimental) that is worth passing on.
A Guardian and Financial Support for Your Child
If you have children, it is essential to provide for their ongoing financial needs as well as to appoint a guardian to look after them should you become incapacitated or pass away unexpectedly. If you don’t appoint a guardian, this is another decision that the court will make for you. They may not appoint the person you would choose.
If you have a pet, it may be a good idea to set up a pet trust so you can select somebody to become your pet’s caretaker if necessary. In a pet trust, you can provide instructions about how to care for your pet and provide the money that the caretaker will need to ensure your wishes are carried out.
Finally, having a Trust based estate plan in place can prevent your loved ones from going through a lengthy, expensive probate court process.
Death and disability are hard topics to contemplate, but creating an estate plan is an important choice no matter what age you are. Consult with an experienced estate planning attorney to make sure your desires are reflected in the right documents, so that your loved ones are provided for when you’re gone or unable to make decisions for yourself.
Work with an Experienced Corning Estate Planning Attorney
We’re here to help you begin your estate planning process. Call Roth Elder Law, PLLC today to schedule an initial meeting at 607-962-6162 or complete this intake form and we’ll be in touch.