Estate Planning: Why do I need it?

Studies show that over half of Americans die with no formal estate plan in place.  Failure to implement an estate plan can result in numerous issues, including the inheritance of assets by unintended beneficiaries and/or unintended individuals assuming control of one’s assets.

An estate plan ideally enables an individual to, among other things:

  1. Formalize his/her wishes with respect to what happens to assets at his/her death.
  2. Name decisionmakers to manage assets in the event of death or incapacity.
  3. Name individuals who can give instruction as to health care in the event one becomes unable to give instruction for himself/herself.
  4. Proactively discuss and plan for future life events including incapacity, health care decision-making, and long-term care.

The need for estate planning is not driven by wealth or potential tax liability.  Estate planning is important for anyone wishing to insure the appropriate people inherit assets at death and the appropriate people assume the role of decision-maker in the event of lifetime incapacity.  Every person can benefit from an estate plan.