It is natural to put off making decisions when the process requires you to think seriously about difficult matters. This is why less than half of those in Texas and across the country have an estate plan or even a simple will. You may be among those who have delayed addressing those upsetting questions or even considering whether a will is enough to adequately provide for your family's needs.
For many people, a will is enough to meet their goals for their loved ones after they die. However, your situation may have certain elements that require more careful consideration in the form of an estate plan.
Benefitting from a thorough estate plan
Your will designates whom you wish to receive your assets after you pass away. It can also outline your desires for the care of your children, including naming a guardian for those who are still minors. An estate plan can offer even more for you and your family, including the following:
- Avoiding excessive tax ramifications for your estate
- Managing the assets of a large or complex estate, for example if you own properties in numerous states or overseas
- Including the succession of your business
- Providing for a child or dependent with special needs without jeopardizing any claims to government benefits
- Leaving assets to your children if you wish to control how or when they will use those assets
- Ensuring your children from previous relationships obtain their fair share of your estate
- Allowing you to provide an income for a special cause through a charitable trust
Additionally, some elements of an estate plan, such as a trust, can keep your family's affairs private since they do not go through the public process of probate. Avoiding probate can also save your family money and can allow them to access their inheritance much faster because they will avoid the long months of the court proceedings.
If not now, when?
No matter at what stage of life you currently are, having a solid plan in place can benefit you and your family. A complete estate plan can also include powers of attorney and health care proxies to ensure your financial and medical needs are met if you should become incapacitated. This can happen at any point in a person's life, not just in the elder years.
If you hesitate to make an estate plan because you are just starting out with your investments or your family, you may be encouraged to know that frequently revisiting and revising your estate plan is something advisors encourage, and your attorney can answer your questions about the best tools for your plan, both now and in the future.