Have you been putting off estate planning despite listening to friends and family harp about how important it is to have a plan in place? If so, you are hardly alone. About half of all Americans do not have an estate plan, even though most of them acknowledge the important nature of estate planning. To help you find the motivation to get started on your plan, a Phoenix estate planning attorney at Morris Hall PLLC discusses the top three reasons to create an estate plan.
#1 – Protecting Your Minor Child
People often make the mistake of assuming you need to amass a fortune before estate planning become necessary; however, your most valuable assets cannot be valued in terms of money. That’s because your children are your most valuable assets. 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 in the event you are not here. Your estate plan is the best way to achieve those goals. For instance, because your minor child cannot inherit directly from your estate, 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 have to officially nominate a Guardian for your minor child in the event one is ever needed.
#2 – Avoiding an Intestate Estate
Another common mistake is to assume that estate planning cannot help you if your assets are less than extremely valuable (in monetary terms). Whether you have already amassed a complex and valuable estate, or you are just starting out in life and only have simple, modestly valued assets, the assets you do own probably mean something to you. If you were to die unexpectedly without an estate plan in place, you would leave behind an intestate estate. That means the state intestate succession laws would determine what happens to those assets. Family heirlooms might be given to someone who would not cherish them as you have. Promises to friends and extended family members would not be honored. You even forfeit the right to decide who handles the administration of your estate if you die intestate.
#3 – Planning for the Possibility of Incapacity
While planning for your eventual death and the distribution of your estate assets is an important part of estate planning, it is certainly not the only important reason to create an estate plan. In fact, planning for the possibility of your own incapacity is equally important. You might be surprised to learn that you stand about a one in five chance of suffering a period of incapacity lasting five months or more before you reach retirement age. The odds of becoming incapacitated will also increase as you age; therefore, incapacity provisions within your estate are crucial. Without these, you have no control over who will make health care decisions for you or who will manage your assets and finances in the event you do become incapacitated. For most people, the thought of a court making those decisions doesn’t sit well. Moreover, if you fail to plan ahead, your loved ones may be forced to battle it out in court for the right to make decisions for you and/or control your assets if incapacity does strike at some point in the future.
Contact a Phoenix Estate Planning Attorney
For more information, please join us for an upcoming FREE webinar. If you have additional questions or concerns about estate planning for parents of minor children, contact an experienced estate planning attorney at Morris Hall PLLC by calling 888-222-1328 to schedule your appointment today. Morris Hall has offices throughout Arizona and New Mexico, such as Phoenix, Mesa, Albuquerque, and Santa Fe.