Some may feel it is too complex or too costly to draw up an estate plan, but not planning is the most costly error for you and your family.
Estate planning is about caring for your loved ones, seeing they are provided for, and making sure your property is distributed according to your wishes. An estate plan should be part of your family’s overall financial plan, along with saving for your children’s college tuition and your retirement.
About half of all Americans do not have a will, which leaves it to state law to distribute their property when they die. If they have children, a court will decide where they will live and who will care for them and make important decisions about their money, education, and way of life.
Properly designed estate plans
A well-designed estate plan:
- Designates someone to make decisions for you about medical treatment
- Helps your business continue after your disability or death
- Provides for your immediate family and others who need care
- Lets beneficiaries receive distributions more quickly with less expense
- Appoints someone to administer your estate
- Details your preferred funeral arrangements
- Donates to a charitable cause
- Reduces inheritance taxes to the minimum allowed by law.
Documents in an estate plan can include: