Estate planning is a topic that can be difficult to think about, let alone discuss. People often put off thinking or doing anything about their estate plan, thinking that they will have plenty of time to create one in the future.
However, putting it off too long can have unfortunate consequences that are ultimately expensive and could lead to legal challenges. Thus, if you are currently debating whether now is a good time to draft your estate plan, consider the following benefits of doing so sooner rather than later.
- It ensures you can make your wishes known. Accidents happen; people get sick. These unexpected situations can be devastating, and they can make it impossible for a person to express themselves. If you have an estate plan, it can answer questions about your medical care and financial decisions, even if you cannot.
- Waiting too long can have costly consequences. Estate planning can allow you to create a strategy for distributing your assets. If you do not have a plan, you could miss out on opportunities to maximize financial gifts. Further, without some preparation, parties could wind up having to spend down their personal assets to qualify for programs like Medicaid.
- It can give your loved ones peace of mind. Even if you are not concerned about things like estate administration, end-of-life arrangements or surrogate decision-makers, your family will be the ones to navigate them on your behalf. Thus, putting your wishes in a legally enforceable document can give them considerable peace of mind in knowing there will be a roadmap to guide them through these difficult situations.
- It ensures someone you trust will handle your affairs. If you do not have a will, the courts will appoint people to carry out critical responsibilities. These can include guardians of your children, executors of your estate and agents who will have the power to make financial and medical decisions for you. When you name these parties yourself in your estate plan, you can be confident that people you know and trust will fill these roles.
So, before you put off estate planning for another day, consider these benefits and the lasting impact they can have on you and your loved ones.