What is an estate plan?
Estate planning is just a fancy legal-ish word for what you want to happen to your money and stuff when you die or become disabled.
Your will is a big part of estate planning. But there’s a whole lot more to think about, like figuring out what type of will you need or if you need a trust. Plus, you need to decide which people you want to handle your estate, get your stuff, and take care of your kids and pets. Not to mention, you need powers of attorney to make medical and financial decisions for you (in case you lose the ability).
Why do you need an estate plan?
Having a solid estate plan in place is a big deal. Why? Because if you die without a will (or a complete estate plan), the court gets to make decisions for you. That can include putting someone in charge of handling your estate, deciding who gets your stuff, and picking caregivers for your children or pets. Don’t you want to have full control over those decisions?
Taking the time to put your plan together also shows you care enough about your loved ones to look after them when you’re gone. And it can be a good way to minimize estate taxes. Plus, it gives you a legacy you can be proud of and peace of mind knowing the wealth you’ve worked so hard to build ends up exactly where you want it to.
Next week we will discuss what should be in your estate plan.
Dave Conley, CFP