Attorneys create legal documents, and this can paint a certain picture in your mind. There are legal necessities, but there is a human element behind it all. Estate planning lawyers are not motivated by document creation in and of itself. They use the documents to protect families.
Consider the Magnitude
People are sometimes flippant about the subject of estate planning. They assume that they will always have time to quickly draw up some type of will when they are senior citizens, and they are not too concerned.
This is not a very responsible way to look at the subject. Every responsible adult should have an estate plan in place, even young, single adults. However, we like to be fair. There are not too many recent college grads who are rushing to estate planning lawyers to draw up wills or trusts, and this is understandable.
However, once you become a self-supporting adult, at some point in time, people are going to start depending on you. If you are married, or if you have a domestic partner, two incomes are probably required to support the lifestyle that you enjoy as a couple. What would happen if one income was to vanish?
Plus, speaking of people who are living together who are not married, there are absolutely no legal protections in place from an estate distribution standpoint.
If there is no direct familial relationship, a surviving partner would be left out in the cold if there was no estate plan in place. The partner in question would also have no say in medical decision-making if his or her partner was to become unable to communicate.
Estate planning is a must for people who are in this situation, but married couples also have every reason to put an estate plan in place. You want to make sure that your spouse is provided for come what may, and you may have other people that you would like to include on your inheritance list.
For people with children, the stakes are considerably higher. You protect your children in every way while you are living, but have you thought about the situation they would be in if you were to pass away? If you are going through life without an estate plan as a parent, you are definitely doing your children a disservice.
To this point, we have looked at the importance of estate planning for people who are younger. However, believe it or not, a recent study has found that 51 percent of people who are between 55 and 64 years of age do not have last wills or any other asset transfer documents.
There are countless reasons why estate planning is essential for older adults. Many people in this age group are divorced, and they have children from previous marriages. There are steps that you can take to make sure that everyone that you love is provided for, but if you do nothing, loved ones could be disinherited.
Preserving monetary wealth is another matter. Asset protection can shield personal resources from legal judgments, and it is also possible to reduce estate tax exposure if you take the right steps. Everyone is not exposed to the estate tax, but high net worth individuals should certainly implement tax efficiency strategies.
There are also advanced techniques can be implemented to make a loved one with a disability more comfortable without impacting eligibility for government benefits like Medicaid and Supplemental Security Income.
It is possible to use a trust to make sure that a loved one who is not a good money manager will have assets to draw from over the long haul.
These are just a handful of the different ways that a well constructed estate plan can protect your family, but there are other scenarios that can be addressed through the utilization of the proper estate planning techniques.
Hopefully, we have provided some motivation for you in this blog post if you are going through life without an estate plan. We should also touch upon the fact that your existing estate plan may need adjustments if you have not looked at it in a number of years.
If you are not thoroughly convinced, we invite you to download our in-depth special report on the importance of estate planning. This compelling report will open your eyes even further, and you can access your copy of this valuable resource free of charge.
To obtain your copy of the special report, visit this page and follow the simple instructions: The Importance of Estate Planning.
Mr. Kraft assists clients primarily in the areas of estate planning and administration, Medicaid planning, federal and state taxation, real estate and corporate law, bringing the added perspective of an accounting background to his work.