With the new year around the corner, it’s time to start thinking about what you have been avoiding and go ahead and tackle it. Estate planning is typically one of those things we avoid because it is uncomfortable. Experience practicing in estate planning tells me that there are very few things in life that are certain, but we all know that one day our passing is one of those things. So, what better time to begin your estate planning, than at a point where the possibility seems distant.
Here are just 5 reasons to stop putting it off:
- Save Money: While you will incur some cost upfront for the preparation of your estate plan, it can save your beneficiaries and your Personal Representative time and money in the future by reducing costs like probate fees, income taxes and any fees for a guardian. In addition, if you lack the mental capacity, a good plan can help avoid the expense and delay of court proceedings.
- Control How It Is Distributed: Without an estate plan, all of your money, possessions and property will be distributed to your next of kin in accordance with the law, and this may not be your wish.
- Select Personal Representative of Your Estate: You get to decide ahead of time who you trust the most and who will likely be alive to safeguard your property, pay your debts and distribute your estate among the beneficiaries you have named in your will.
- Select Guardians of Your Children: If you have minor children, you can name who you would like to take care of your children.
- Financial Decision Making and Care for Lack of Mental Capacity: Your estate plan should not only plan for what happens after you pass, but it should also address how your financial affairs, personal care and healthcare should be handled in the event that you lose mental capacity.
This year, make your #1 New Year’s resolution to take care of your estate planning. As the wise saying goes, “Don’t put off until tomorrow what you can do today.”
Julie Ickes is an associate at Jackson Law Group. Her primary practice areas are estate planning, trust and probate administration and guardianship. She received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Smith College. Julie earned her J.D. and LL.M. in Taxation from the University of Florida Levin College of Law.