In many ways, estate planning is a misnomer, as it leads most people to believe it’s all about money and taxes. In reality, estate planning is really about protection – for you and your loved ones.
Regardless of the size of your bank account or your family, there are lots of good reasons to create an estate plan, including the fact that you could be the biggest beneficiary of your advance planning. If you become incapacitated, you will need to have designated someone to make financial and health care decisions on your behalf.
Here are seven reasons why everyone needs an estate plan, including you:
- Health care. Defining how your medical needs will be handled in case you are unable to make those decisions for yourself and making a plan for long-term health care is a key benefit in planning your estate.
- Avoiding probate. Having an estate plan allows you to avoid probate, saving your family from the expense and hassle of going to court.
- Avoiding family feuds. Sentimental items often provoke more family fights than money. Creating an estate plan allows you to designate who will receive family heirlooms, jewelry, art collections and other possessions so there is no question after you pass.
- Beneficiary forms. Making sure the right people are listed on beneficiary forms for IRAs, life insurance, retirement plans and annuities ensure those assets pass directly to the beneficiaries in a timely fashion.
- Dependents. Ensuring the care of dependents – children, grandchildren, an elderly parent or a special needs family member — can be accomplished by setting up a trust in your estate plan.
- Asset management. Naming the right person to manage assets wisely for the benefit of heirs will make sure the assets are not mismanaged and depleted from your estate.
- Business succession. If you own a business, you need a succession plan to determine what will happen to the business if something should happen to you.
Our experienced and trusted estate planning attorneys have been serving Treasure Coast families for decades, and Michael Fowler is one of only four Treasure Coast attorneys who is Board Certified by the Florida Bar in Elder Law. Contact us for your free initial consultation at one of our conveniently located offices in Fort Pierce, Stuart, Port St. Lucie, Vero Beach, and Okeechobee.