Have you thought about what will happen after you die? Most of us don’t think about this because we consider it an unpleasant topic, and we are healthy and actively enjoying life. But life is filled with uncertainty, and we should be prepared for any tragic or unexpected events that could have a huge impact on us and our loved ones. In fact, planning for that circumstance now can clarify our wishes and give us greater peace of mind. Nonetheless, it is easy to put off estate planning indefinitely. Here are three reasons why you might avoid making an estate plan. And why you should make one anyway.
- You don’t want to think about dying. Thinking about something terrible happening to you or your loved ones is unsettling, to say the least. Many of you might simply think you’re too young to worry about making an estate plan. But it is impossible to know what will happen as your life unfolds, and being proactive to protect your loved ones in any case will give you and your family a real sense of security. Making an estate plan will ensure your loved ones receive what they are entitled to when the time comes, and reduce their stress and worry at a time when they are already struggling with your loss. And – you can modify this plan at any time if circumstances change.
- You don’t know what estate planning entails. It is easy to be confused about what is involved in creating an estate plan. Put simply, the estate planning process is getting your affairs in order to help your loved ones in the event that you become incapacitated or die. The best way to eliminate confusion is to speak with an experienced estate planning attorney who can go over the entire process in detail. He or she can get an understanding of your total assets and the specific needs of your family. You can make difficult decisions on topics like who will pay your bills if you are incapacitated from an accident, or what you would want done if you were on life support.
- You think that you can’t afford it. The irony of thinking that estate planning is too expensive is that you actually can’t afford not to do it. Estate planning is a worthwhile investment that can save your loved ones a lot of money and heartache in the event of your death. These savings include reducing or avoiding costly probate court fees. Setting up a basic estate plan is more affordable and less time consuming than ever before, and not having one can be a costly mistake. You want to discuss all estate planning fees with your attorney before making a commitment. A competent attorney will get your estate plan set up at a fair price and help you to avoid costly future expenses.
If you are a California resident and die without an estate plan in place, your property and assets will be distributed to heirs according to California law. Factors that can affect this process include whether you are married, whether you have minor children, what type of property you own, and how you own it. Since California is a community property state, this factor can unnecessarily complicate matters that could be clarified simply by having an estate plan. The default judgement by the state can differ dramatically from what you would have wanted, especially if you have minor children. A good estate plan will give you peace of mind that your family is taken care of no matter what life brings you. It can also help your loved ones avoid the stressful, expensive and time-consuming probate process.
If you are in the Modesto, CA area, you can get a free two-hour estate planning session from Julie Richardson with no obligation. With over 17 years’ experience as an attorney, she understands how overwhelming and confusing the whole estate planning process can be. Julie is dedicated to helping you make the best possible decisions for you and your loved ones.
As a bonus for back-to-school time, if you have minor children and you contact us in September to book an appointment, we will give you a $300 credit towards your estate planning package.