The idea of applying an estate plan might be one of the scariest things you have to confront as an adult. But estate planning does not have to make chills run down your spine. First of all estate planning allows for both you and your family and allows you to live confidently knowing that things will be taken care of in the event of your passing or incapacity. Estate planning is not just for the ultra-rich. If you own anything or have young children, you should have an estate plan. Read below to find out reasons why.
Benefits of Estate Planning
Proper estate planning achieves many things. Furthermore, it puts your financial house in order. Parents choose a guardian for their minor or disabled children. As a result they’re raised by someone who shares your values and parenting style. Homeowners can make sure their property is transferred to a chosen beneficiary in the event of death. Business owners can ensure the enterprise they’ve worked so hard to build stays within the family.
Yet, according to WealthCounsel’s 2016 Estate Planning Literacy Survey, only 40% of Americans have a will and just 17% have a trust in place. This translates to a most of American families not being properly protected against the eventual certainty of death or the possibility of legal incapacity.
When it comes to estate planning, knowledge is vital. Less than 50% of those surveyed by WealthCounsel understood that an estate plan can be used to address several concerns – financial or non-financial matters. Including health decisions and guardianship, avoiding court and prevent family conflicts, as well as taking advantage of business and tax benefits.
Estate Planning Horror Stories
Legal disputes over estate plans and wills are usually the lack of having these in place at all are common. As a result these conflicts can cause harm to family relationships and be financially difficult. As a result, fights among the rich-and-famous often made headlines.
Some scary outcomes of poor or non-existent estate planning include:
● Prince, who died without a will, leaving lawsuits and hefty lawyer’s fees for his family.
● Whitney Houston, whose failure to update her will negatively affect her daughter Bobbi Kristina’s inheritance.
● James Gandolfini, who didn’t finish planning, as a result his estate to be hit with unnecessary and easily avoided death taxes.
● Michael Jackson, who set up trusts for his children but due to funded them resulting into several probate court battles.
● Philip Seymour Hoffman, who never set up trusts for his kids causing their inheritances to be unnecessarily taxed.
These horror stories are not limited to wealthy celebrities. WealthCounsel’s survey found that more than one-third of respondents know someone who has experienced or have themselves suffered family disputes due to the failure of an existing estate plan or inadequate will. More than half of those who have set an estate plan did so to reduce family conflict. Preserving family harmony is for everyone – not only for the rich or celebrities.
Attorneys: Your Guide to Not-So-Spooky Estate Planning
While estate planning can be confusing as each happening is different there are different tools to achieve the best possible outcome. Nearly 75 percent of those surveyed by WealthCounsel said estate planning was a confusing topic and valued professional guidance in learning more – so you’re not alone if you aren’t sure where to begin.
We’re here to help. An estate planning attorney is essential in determining the best way to structure your will, trust, and estate plan to fit your needs. If you or someone you know has questions about where to begin – contact us today 501-221-7776.