There are many reasons to have an estate plan prepared, regardless of the size of your estate.
• Who would manage your affairs if you became disabled or incapacitated? It is important you plan for the unknown and whom you would want to step into your shoes and make decisions on your behalf.
• Be in control! Distribution of your assets should be done according to your wishes, not those of the state of Texas. Without a Will, your assets will be distributed according to Texas laws. This may be disastrous to your family and heirs. Even a “simple” Will is a type of estate plan and can incorporate trust provisions to provide for your family and any special family situations.
• Do you want your surviving spouse and children to have to deal with YOUR creditors? Creditors are becoming more aggressive in their collection techniques. Having your finances in order is necessary to avoid stress for your spouse and children should something happen to you.
• Your child or your spouse might be currently suffering from a physical, mental or health disability. How are you going to make sure your spouse or child will be taken care of once you are gone? What if your spouse or child might someday qualify for government benefits? There are various estate planning tools you can utilize to make sure you protect your spouse or child without jeopardizing any possible government benefit.
• It is estimated that 40 to 50 percent of first marriages end in divorce in the United States. Second marriages fail at a rate of 60 to 70 percent. Because of this, blended families are becoming more and more common. Blended families face unique and complex estate planning issues. Blended family issues can be messy. If your estate plan is not set up properly, you can count on family fights and disagreements. It’s bad enough that someone has died, but additional unpleasant feelings and extra stress can be eliminated with the proper estate plan.
• Some studies have shown that out of 100 children who inherit $1 million, only one child will still have $1 million left after a 10-year period.
The rest squander their money, probably for instant gratification with nothing to show for it. Some family members, whether spouses or children, are not good money managers and can’t be trusted with large sums of money.
Incorporating a trust for such a beneficiary (recipient) in your Will can protect the remaining assets from the beneficiary’s compulsive spending habits. With appropriate planning, you can make sure your family is protected and won’t go bankrupt after you are gone.
• Small business or family business owners can take precautions to protect their heirs and family against creditors.
As a business owner, you can set up business planning to insulate business creditors from attaching your personal assets.
Life-time planning techniques can be considered to protect your personal assets. You need to review your options with a qualified estate planning attorney.
It is important to make sure your estate is in order. Keep in mind this article gives you only a few reasons to have a proper estate plan. The bottom line is to BE RESPONSIBLE and meet with a qualified estate planning attorney to make sure you and your family will be protected.