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Five Reasons why Estate Planning is Important

Posted on: June 1st, 2017 by Mark R. Friedman

This is another in a series of guest articles we’ll be posting from attorney colleagues across the country on issues relevant to our readers.  Enjoy!

Because we never know what the future holds, it’s important to plan your estate now rather than put it off until later when it might actually be too late. Let’s take a quick look at the specific reasons why being proactive when it comes to your estate is important:

1. Preparation in case disaster happens
– Estate planning provides you with the opportunity to appoint one or more people to make medical decisions on your behalf if you lose the ability to do that on your own.
– You can specify what, if any, extraordinary measures healthcare providers should take in the event you are incapacitated.
– Designate who will pay your bills during the time you are recovering from a medical issue or emergency.

2. Complete picture of finances
– As part of estate planning, you will inventory your debts and assets.
– You will designate who will inherit your assets and how you want them distributed. This is also true for sentimental items that have little financial value.
– As your review your important documents and other paperwork, you may find that updating some of them is necessary and would have otherwise been overlooked. This includes designating beneficiaries.

3. Reduce the stress of your family members in advance of your passing.
– When estate planning is not done in advance, it’s left to the surviving family members who will already be grieving your loss. Handling the deceased’s finances, distribution of assets, and other matters can add substantial stress to what they will already be experiencing.

4. Provision for your loved ones
– Specify guardians for your minor children.
– Set up a trust for your special needs children or other relatives to distribute funds to them after your passing. An estate planning attorney Scottsdale AZ can assist with this in a manner that the payments don’t interfere with the recipient’s government benefits.
– Designate which of your children from previous relationships and your current relationship should receive various of your assets. This can have the added benefit of protecting those assets from former spouses and creditors. Speak to an estate planning attorney for more details.

5. Establishes a plan in case of your incapacitation.
Estate planning makes it possible to provide information and answers to family members when they will most need to know but are unable to ask you. It is also likely to reduce tensions and conflict among your surviving family members. You can designate any or all of the below:
– The executor of your estate.
– End of life medical care that you wish to have.
– The disbursement of your retirement account funds.
– The disbursement of your sentimental items.
– The handling of your social media accounts.

Too many people delay or avoid planning their estate for any number of reasons. Taking a proactive approach to how you want your estate handled can be beneficial for your entire family. Talk to an estate planning attorney today to discuss your legal options.

Thanks to our colleagues and contributors from Hildebrand Law for their insight into estate planning practice.

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