It’s highly likely that every person reading this blog has several things in common. First, you each clicked on this link because you either have been or are beginning to wonder some version of the question, “Why do I need an estate plan?”
That’s an obvious one. But you’re also likely to have a combination of three other things in common. You have an estate, you have people in your life whom you love, and none of you will live forever.
These three realities are the reasons you need estate planning.
Take a look:
Why Do I Need An Estate Plan? (Because You Have An Estate)
You need an estate plan because you, along with the majority of the U.S. population, have an estate.
And if you’re thinking you’re too young or too poor for it to be true, you should probably reevaluate.
If you’re over the age of 18, you’re old enough, and if you have even one asset that holds value (think car, bank account, house – no matter how small or rundown, etc), you have an estate.
You might not own enough to need a complicated estate plan, but at least a basic Last Will and Testament is important for you.
Why Do I Need An Estate Plan? (Because You Have Relationships)
When clients who are wondering “why do I need an estate plan?” come to us, the first thing we ask about actually isn’t their assets or finances. The first thing we ask them about is their close relationships. We ask questions like:
- Who do you love?
- Who do you wish to provide for at the end of your life?
- Who are your heirs, and how are they doing in life?
- Is there a potential for conflict in your family over your estate?
- What is your main goal or hope for those you love after you’re gone?
You won’t be dealing with the after-effects of your death, your close family and friends will be.
And you’ve got to ask yourself, what is the last taste you plan to leave in their mouths? Will it be the sweetness of one last gesture of love? Or is it going to be a bitter reminder that you neglected to care for them?
Because estate planning so deeply affects relationships, either positively or negatively, we believe in the philosophy of relational estate planning rather than traditional estate planning. You need to have an estate plan and it should be geared toward the people you love, not simply about your money.
(Related: Want to know more about relational estate planning philosophy vs. traditional estate planning? Click here!)
Why Do I Need An Estate Plan? (Because You Have A Finite Life)
We can dread our mortality, or we can accept the truth that all our lives come to an end, and prepare for it.
Ultimately, an estate plan just helps you meet that ending well. If done right, estate planning can bring peace of mind, confidence about the future, closure to relationships, and more.
The Consequences of Being Unprepared:
You leave your loved ones with a chore:
Have you ever had to clean a messy kitchen that wasn’t yours? Pretty confusing, right? You may know the dishes need to be washed, but if you don’t know where the dish soap and drying towel is, or where the dishes actually go when you’re through, it takes forever to figure out. Something that should be simple chore becomes complicated and frustrating.
That’s a small scale version of how it feels for someone who has to administer your estate when you haven’t made a plan.
Someone (probably your next of kin) will sort through it because they have to, but it will be long, painful, and messy.
You leave your estate intestate:
If you die without an official estate plan, your estate becomes what’s called intestate, and intestacy can bring with it an entire list of problems.
An intestate estate is controlled by the state government, and that can mean bad news for your personal property, minor children, and more. They probably won’t make the same decisions you would if you had control over your assets and relationships.
(Related: Want to educate yourself more on intestacy and why it’s important to avoid it? Click here.)
The Results of Having A Plan:
If you’re still wondering “Why do I need an estate plan?” at this point, here’s why:
Having an official estate plan will give you:
- Control over your own assets at the end of your life (You’d rather be in charge than the government, right?) and more importantly –
- The ability to leave your loved ones in the best position possible by taking advantage of relational estate planning.
Where To Start:
If you’re ready to take care of your loved ones with estate planning, we recommend you find an estate planning attorney who will be the right fit for you and your family.
(Related: 6 Tips For Choosing the Right Estate Planning Attorney)
We’d love to offer you a free estate planning consultation so that you can meet our team and see if we are that right fit. Click here to request your free consultation today.