Anyone who tells you they are excited about estate planning is either an estate planning attorney, themselves, or a liar. After all, nobody looks forward to paperwork, and even less than nobody enjoys contemplating their own death. This explains why, despite being a crucially important task, less than half of U.S. adults have taken any kind of step towards organizing their estate. Not only is this bad news for individuals whose financial and medical well-being remain unprotected from unexpected tragedy, but it is also bad for an individual’s loved ones, who face enormous hurdles should they be required to administer your affairs without a plan.

Estate Planning is an Act of Caring

Yes, an estate plan exists to protect your life’s work, but more than that it serves to protect your family and loved ones. Besides your advance directives and financial power of attorney—documents that protect your health and finances should you suffer incapacitating illness or injury—the documents which compose your estate plan act to ensure the proper and efficient distribution of your assets when you die. Naturally, then, you won’t reap their benefit…but those people that matter most to you in the world will.  Here’s how:

1. An Estate Plan Saves Your Family Conflict 

One of the first and most important steps to organizing your affairs is sitting down with loved ones and explaining your goals. Not only does this ensure no detail is overlooked, but it also presents an opportunity for conversation that, when you are gone, may otherwise be sorely missed. All too often, overlooking the need to talk loved ones through your last wishes gives rise to irreparable conflict that, beyond being wholly preventable, also represents the precise opposite of the legacy you wish to leave.

2. An Estate Plan Saves Your Family Time and Money

Among the principal reasons people execute an estate plan is to reign in the cost and complication of probate court. Should you die with no Last Will and Testament or trust agreement in place, your assets will pass according to your state’s intestacy laws. Often, this means an arduous probate court hearing that not only comes at a cost, but also leaves your estate vulnerable to legal challenges by loved ones who may disagree with the dictates of the law.

3. An Estate Plan Protects Your Family’s Financial Future

While every adult needs an estate plan, this is especially true of adults with dependents. After all, parents or caretakers will want to make arrangements that ensure their dependents’ continued well-being even when they are gone. Setting up a trust is a common solution, as doing so allows you to control the conditions under which an inheritance is received, thereby relieving worry about irresponsible spending or inadvertently interfering with access to public benefits.

4. An Estate Plan Helps Your Family Protect You

As mentioned above, advance directives and financial power of attorney documents ensure your health and finances are looked after even if you, yourself, lose the ability to do so. Beyond this, these documents also protect your family as they provide clear instructions concerning how to attend to your well-being and thus diffuse both anxiety and any possible conflict that might arise around the subject.

While only a partial list of estate planning’s many advantages, the above points show that the issue not just one of fiscal responsibility but simple kindness.

To learn more about protecting yourself and your loved ones or to address any other matter related to estate planning, do not hesitate to call Miller Estate and Elder Law at 256 251-2137  or to reach out using the contact form on our website.