Benefits of having an Estate Plan in Place
According to a recent survey, ⅔ of Americans don’t have a will or other important estate planning documents. A will is a legal document that allows you to leave detailed instructions to your loved ones about what happens to your belongings after you die.
While this isn’t necessarily a topic many of us like to discuss, that doesn’t make it any less important. October is National Estate Planning Awareness month and we at GoodTrust are passionate about helping families to fully protect what matters. In an effort to help you do that, here are the top reasons it is important to consider an estate plan, today.
Simplify the Process
Almost everyone's will goes through probate - the legal process of distributing assets to beneficiaries - when they die. If somebody dies without a will, which is called intestate, the court decides who gets what instead of the person themselves. In this case, your family members and other loved ones may not end up with the heirlooms, financial gifts, or control of other assets that you wanted them to have. In some cases, families argue about the distributions, which causes friction and conflict. While there are lots of factors that contribute to the distribution of assets to your beneficiaries, the probate process can take anywhere from a few months to a year to be completed.
Writing an estate plan and talking it through with your loved ones before you pass away can be helpful because it gives a clear idea of what you want to happen with your assets, eliminates confusion, reduces stress on your loved ones, and helps to avoid family conflict.
Protect Your Children
Estate planning is often thought of as something that only wealthy people need to worry about. But the truth is, everyone can benefit from having a plan in place and it’s especially important for parents with young children.
If you have young children, assigning a guardian as part of your estate plan can help ensure that they will be taken care of in the event of your death. Without a designated guardian, your children could end up with nothing, or be assigned to someone who may not be the best choice for them.
Plan for your Digital Assets
Your list of digital assets grows almost every day which includes everything you create and manage online such as photos, videos, documents, online accounts, social media platforms, online banking, and more. Many of these accounts are secured behind usernames and passwords which is great but only you have the ability to access them unless you include them in your estate plan or add them to your GoodTrust Digital Vault.
The growing need to manage these accounts can seem overwhelming, but it's not going away any time soon. Writing your estate plan allows you to provide detailed instructions on how to protect your story, your legacy, and your digital assets today, and after you pass away.
Support a Cause
There’s no better way to leave a legacy than to support a cause that is meaningful to you. When you write your will with GoodTrust, you can select one, or several, charities and the amount of the financial gift you wish to leave to each organization.
Provide Instructions on Caring for your Pets
Have you ever wondered about what would happen to your pets if you were unable to care for them? If you're like most people, you consider your pets as part of the family so it’s only natural that you would write a plan for them, as you would for your children or other dependents. By including a pet directive - a set of instructions about how to care for your pet when you no longer can - you can ensure your furry friend is left in good hands.
Make your Medical Wishes Known
While we typically think of estate planning as only involving things that will happen after your death, advance directives are an essential part of estate planning as well.
Advance directives help your loved ones make major decisions regarding your medical care while you’re still alive, and allow you to communicate your desires if you can't do so on your own. Having these prepared ahead of time reduces stress on your family, and allows you to receive the medical care you need - and want.
Peace of Mind
When asked, most people say the #1 reason for completing their estate plan is for the peace of mind of knowing they have not left a burden on their family. By creating your will with GoodTrust you can eliminate confusion, reduce stress on your loved ones, and help to avoid family conflict all in less than 15 minutes. Get started today, your loved ones will thank you.
We celebrate this week of October as National Estate Planning Week, but our will, directives, and power of attorney tools will protect you for a lifetime.
To get started creating your comprehensive Estate Plan today, click here.