There are many reasons to have an estate plan in place, or to update an existing estate plan. Five simple reasons are outlined below:
- Avoiding Probate: This is one of the most common reasons why many clients have contacted me to work with them on setting up a trust as part of their estate plan. Often they have dealt with the probate process after the loss of a loved one and want to simplify the process for their own children or family members.
- Avoiding Difficulties: It can be difficult for family members whose loved ones do not have health care and financial powers of attorney in place. If you become incompetent or unable to manage your own affairs or health care decisions, then having these documents in place and having appropriate agents appointed will prevent your family members from having to obtain court appointed guardianship in order to make decisions on your behalf.
- Changes in Circumstances: Life changes, such as death of a spouse, divorce, relocation from another state, health changes, or even planning an extended vacation are all valid reasons for creating or updating a will or an estate plan.
- Protecting beneficiaries: Minor children or family members with disabilities should have guardians nominated and assets protected; and some adult beneficiaries should be protected from things like bad decisions, outside influences, creditor problems and divorcing spouses.
- Reducing estate taxes: If you are concerned about estate taxes, a plan that includes trust preparation and/or a variety of advanced estate planning techniques may be the type of plan for you and your family.