Protect your family, have an estate plan
Written by Michelle N. Ogborne

Why Estate Planning Matters

If you have not developed an estate plan, then you may have questions about what it really is and why it matters.

After all, it’s only for the rich, right? Don’t you need pricey artwork and beachfront property or a family business to need an estate plan?

Actually, that’s not the case, and there are a number of reasons why everyone really can benefit from having a strong estate plan in place.

Here are four top reasons you should add an estate plan to your portfolio:

  1. You Can Choose Your Beneficiaries

First of all, having an estate plan will prevent your assets from going to people you prefer they didn’t. No matter what you have—homes, stocks, TVs, furniture, jewelry, or even pricey artwork—you can determine now where all of it will go when you pass.

If you don’t outline who will be the beneficiary of which asset, then the courts will decide for you. And if your estate winds up in probate, it can take years to assign which component of your asset falls to which relative.

It’s also expensive to go through probate. And worse, it breeds animosity to have all of that fighting among your loved ones over what they think you wanted to have happen to your estate.

  1. If You’re Starting (or Have) a Family

An especially important time to consider creating your first estate plan is when you get married and have children. Estate planning is generally thought of as how valuables, properties, and possessions will be divided up, but another crucial aspect of an estate plan for families is the guardianship of your children.

In the event that both parents die—and you have not designated a guardian—the courts will decide who will raise them. Don’t let your children go through the court systems while relatives fight, have an estate plan.

  1. To Avoid Tax Penalties

Another great reason for estate planning is protecting your family and loved ones from unnecessary tax burdens. Remember that an estate plan is much more than a will.

You can create a number of devices to shield your assets from taxes as you pass them on to your dependents. With proper planning, you can reduce or completely eliminate all federal and state taxes from of your belongings. Without a plan, your heirs could end up paying a lot in taxes.

  1. A Simpler Transition

In most cases, the best possible reason to plan your estate is to eliminate family chaos when you’re gone.

We’ve all heard of these fights families have after a loved one dies—over property, stocks, and other valuables.

You can avoid this possibility before it ever begins with some smart estate planning. This will allow you to choose who controls your estate, will go a long way in eliminating any differences in opinions, and allows the process to run much smoother.

Simply put, everyone should have an estate plan, especially families with small children. Having an estate plan virtually ensures your assets will transfer into the hands of the right people. It will end long court battles that end up becoming costly and drive families apart. And if you’re a parent, perhaps the most valuable asset of estate planning is giving your children a secure future.

Given all of the intricacies of estate planning, you should avoid planning one on your own. Instead, trust the experience of Ogborne Law. We know the right questions to ask to help you build the perfect plan for your unique needs.