If you have yet to create an estate plan, you have probably had to listen to well-meaning friends and family tell you that you need to get busy creating your estate plan. For that advice to take root, however, you likely need motivation. Understanding why you need an estate plan may help convince you to get started on your plan. With that in mind, the Grand Forks estate planning attorneys at German Law Group offer three important reasons to have an estate plan:
- To ensure that you decide what happens to you and your estate. The estate you leave behind after your death can be an intestate or testate estate. If you executed a Will prior to your death, the estate is referred to as a “testate” estate and the terms of the Will are used as a roadmap for the distribution of estate assets during the probate process. If you failed to leave behind a valid Will, the estate is referred to as an “intestate” estate. In that case, the state intestate succession laws dictate how the estate assets are distributed and to whom. Typically, only close blood relatives and/or a spouse inherit from the estate. The most common reason for creating at least a basic estate plan is to prevent letting the state dictate what happens to your estate assets after you are gone. In addition, over the course of your lifetime you make thousands of personal, financial, and healthcare decisions that directly impact your life. At the end of your life, you may not be able to make decisions for yourself. You may also have strong opinions about end-of-life care and about how your body is handled after your death. The only way to ensure, with certainty, that those wishes are honored is to make your wishes part of your comprehensive estate plan.
- To protect a minor child. For most people, becoming a parent changes just about every aspect of their lives. If you are one of those people, you undoubtedly want to protect and provide for your child, both while you are here and if something happens and you are no longer here. Your estate plan is the best way to achieve those goals. For instance, because your minor child cannot inherit directly from your estate, leaving assets directly to your child in your Will is not the best way to ensure that your child is financially secure if something happens to you. With that in mind, you will probably want to create a trust to guard your child’s inheritance. Your Last Will and Testament also provides the only opportunity you will officially have to nominate a Guardian for your minor child in the event one is ever needed.
- To protect your assets. Your primary motivation for creating an estate plan may be to ensure that your assets are distributed pursuant to your wishes; however, you must have assets to distribute for that motivation to be relevant. Over the course of your life your assets face numerous known, and unknown, threats. Divorce, spendthrift beneficiaries, financial downfall, and the high cost of long-term care are just a few potential threats to your assets. Fortunately, a well thought out estate plan can protect your assets and help them grow over the course of your lifetime.
Contact a Grand Forks Estate Planning Attorneys
Please join us for an upcoming FREE seminar. If you have additional questions or concerns about estate planning, or you are ready to get started on your estate plan, contactthe Grand Forks estate planning attorneys at German Law Group by calling 701-738-0060 to schedule an appointment.