Provide for your immediate family. The estate plan will provide enough money for your surviving spouse to continue to care for the family. If both you and your spouse pass, an estate plan will name appointed guardians to care for your children.

Ensure property goes to the right beneficiaries. Your estate plan will outline exactly where your assets are to go in the event of your death. This leaves no questions to be resolved by the courts or cause for family discord.

Minimize the expenses and taxes. When you take care to create an estate plan, you should be able to keep the cost of transferring any property to your named beneficiaries.

Provide For Your Family

Without an estate plan in place, your family will get less and it will take them longer to get it. This means your loved ones will be left in limbo and might end up without enough money to pay bills and other living expenses. It’s not uncommon for families with an unexpected death to nearly falling apart due to the financial strain in the weeks, months, and years to come.

Good estate planning will make sure that your family is provided for and not left to face financial ruin once you’re gone. 

#2 – Keep Your Children Out Of Child Protective Services

As unpleasant as this next thought is going to be, take a minute and ask yourself what would happen to your kids if you and/or your spouse were involved in a major car accident on the way home from work tomorrow?

Really, think about it. Who will pick them up from school or daycare? Where will they sleep that night and the nights to come? Who will ultimately end up as their guardian?

If you don’t have an estate plan in place then you might not like the answers to these questions. Why let your kids end up in Child Protective Services while the courts sort out who will serve as their guardian? Why leave that decision up to the courts at all? Do you really want a judge to decide who will raise your kids without any input from you or your spouse?

#3 – Minimize Your Expenses

Do you know where most of the money goes when people don’t have a good estate plan? Attorney’s fees and court costs.

When you die without an estate plan (and without a living trust, in particular) the courts are forced to handle everything: the distribution of your property, the guardianship of your children, the dissolution of your business. This is known as “probate,” and it gets very expensive — easily exceeding $10,000 for even modest estates. That’s money your family and kids could’ve used for living expenses and other bills, but instead, it’s just lining the pockets of your attorney.

#4 – Get Property To Loved Ones Quickly

You have two options here. Option 1, your family has to wait anywhere from 3-9 months to get anything after you die. Option 2, your family gets the money they need to pay bills, to pay for your funeral, to pay for your outstanding medical bills, and to pay for anything else they need right away and without delay.
Which one would you choose? Good estate planning lets you avoid the big delays that can put a real financial strain on your family.

#5 – Save Your Family From The Difficult Decisions

Can you imagine trying to decide when to pull the plug on your spouse who is in a coma or similar condition? Or deciding how his or her remains should be handled?

Those are heartbreaking decisions that no one should have to face. You can ease this burden by thinking about this kind of thing in advance and planning ahead for it. You can specify in your estate plan how you want end-of-life care to be handled and what kind of disposal arrangements you want to be made for your remains. And there’s no one better to make those decisions than you.

#6 – Reduce Taxes

Every single dollar that you pay in taxes is one less dollar that your family will have for paying bills and other expenses. There are numerous tax reduction strategies that you can use to keep as much money in the hands of your family as possible. The key is to start tax planning sooner rather than later — and definitely not to wait until it’s too late

Published by Joseph Nicholls