We all have assets that need to go to someone when we die. Without an estate plan, the decision as to who gets your assets is left to state law, explains Money Talks News’ recent article entitled “Why Everyone Needs an Estate Plan.”
You don’t have to delay until you’re gray to get an estate plan in place. Estate planning can benefit you at any age. No one can predict the future, and if the unexpected occurs and you pass at a young age, an estate plan can designate who will get guardianship of your minor children or the pets you leave behind.
Hiring an experienced estate planning attorney who can write up the necessary legal documents may be smart when you decide to put together an estate plan. You can also take these steps to put your estate plan in place.
- Make an inventory of your assets — list your tangible and intangible assets and their estimated value. Tangible assets include your home or other real estate holdings, vehicles, fine jewelry and collectibles. Intangible assets are things such as your bank account, life insurance policies, retirement accounts, investments (stocks, bonds, and mutual funds) and businesses you own.
- Review your beneficiaries — make certain your retirement account and life insurance policies have designated beneficiaries and the information is up to date.
- Review the estate tax and inheritance tax laws in your state.
- Review your estate plan regularly — things in your life may change, so you should reassess your estate plan when these changes happen. Life events, such as marriage, divorce, having a child, losing a loved one, or getting a new job, are all good times to take another scan of your estate plan.
Failing to have an estate plan can cause a lot of stress for your family. They can be torn apart in disputes over the division of assets after a loved one dies.
Life is full of unknowns, so whether you’re a young parent or a senior, having an estate plan in place to carry out your wishes after you die will lessen the burden on those you love and give them time to grieve.
Reference: Money Talks News (Oct. 21, 2022) “Why Everyone Needs an Estate Plan”