Dying without an estate plan means giving up control of how your assets are distributed and who will take care of your children.
Only 42 percent of U.S. adults have wills, according to a recent survey conducted by Princeton Survey Research Associates International. Yet, everyone needs an estate plan to protect their children and assets, avoid family squabbling, and ensure their last wishes are honored.
Specifically, you need an estate plan to:
- Select immediate and long term guardians for your children.
- Appoint a conservator to preserve your financial assets for your children.
- Manage personal care and medical directives during and after life.
- Appoint a representative in the event of an incapacity.
- Ensure a significant other that is not a legal heir will be granted access to your medical information in the event of an incapacity.
- Minimize estate, death, and gift taxes.
- Minimize the time and costs of probate.
- Protect family assets from creditors or judgments, even those that are decades old.
- Distribute assets to loved ones who are not legal heirs.
- Provide for succession planning for your business.
Whether you are a married adult with children about to embark on a couples-only trip, a single adventurer, have a blended family, or anywhere in between, a proper estate plan will provide your family with the protection needed.