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You Need an Estate Plan Now - Here's Why!Salem-News.com
Five arguments in favor of setting out your estate plan
(SALEM, Ore.) - You’re no doubt familiar with the benefits of a comprehensive estate plan. Whether you work with a high-touch financial services firm like Asiaciti Trust or another wealth management provider, you know full well that you should have your final wishes in legal form.
Why, then, the delay? Every year that goes by without a formal estate plan is another year marked by uncertainty among your heirs and unnecessary expense hanging over your estate.
Should you pass on unexpectedly, your oversight could leave your loved ones in an uncomfortable position.
Not convinced? Let’s review five arguments in favor of setting out your estate plan now — so that you don’t have to rush to do it later.
1. You Don’t Want Potential Heirs to Scrap Over Your Assets
Should you pass on intestate — without a valid will — you’ll leave many decisions over what happens to your assets in the hands of a probate judge.
We’ll return to the myriad drawbacks of this outcome below, but for now: Consider the implications for your heirs. Even as they grieve your loss, they’ll be stuck fighting over what’s yours in court. That’s not the future you envision for your family.
2. You Don’t Want Your Estate Tied Up in Court For Years
Moreover, decedents with substantial assets and no estate plan often precipitate years-long administrative marathons.
A comprehensive estate plan ensures that many of your assets avoid probate altogether, and pass on expeditiously to their rightful inheritors.
3. You Don’t Want to Reward Unintended Beneficiaries
Another consequence of an incomplete or nonexistent estate plan: the potential for unintended beneficiaries to inherit much of what’s yours.
With a thorough estate plan, you can ensure that your assets accrue to the benefit of your biological children, for instance, rather than an ex-spouse.
4. You Want to Provide For Vulnerable Beneficiaries’ Futures
Speaking of children: Should you pass on before your children reach the age of majority, or with adult dependents who require long-term care and maintenance, you want to ensure that they’re well taken care of. A thoughtful estate plan is key to any such program of long-term maintenance.
5. You Want to Minimize Your Estate Tax Burden
If you’re fortunate enough to pass on with considerable assets, your estate may be subject to estate tax, a wealth tax that may dramatically erode its value.
Careful estate planning can minimize, if not eliminate, your estate tax liability, ensuring that your heirs — rather than the government — receives their true due.
Expect the Best, Prepare for Anything
As the old saying goes, fortune favors the prepared.
This is true in life as well as in death — even if the dead don’t benefit directly from the good fortune they’ve prepared.
By setting out your estate plan now, well before (one hopes) it’s necessary, you ensure that your survivors will be well taken care of should the worst befall you. Your expectation of a long, full life to come may not match what fate has in store.
Besides: The sooner your estate plan is in the books, the sooner you’ll be in a position to cross this most long-term of to-dos off your master list. That in itself is worthy of celebration.
Source: Salem-News.com Special Features Dept.
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