It’s never a pleasant experience to consider the end of one’s life, but planning for the future and preparing for any eventuality is a big part of being a responsible person, especially if you have children and other family members who depend on you, along with assets and accumulated wealth which you want to see distributed fairly after you’re gone.
This is why wills and testaments are so important, giving a person the ability to control how their wealth, property, and possessions will be shared out among their loved ones, and estate planning is another service connected to this that you may consider. This guide will cover the ins and outs of estate planning, as well as highlighting some of its biggest advantages.
What Is Estate Planning?
To understand the concept of estate planning, it’s important to first understand what the word ‘estate’ refers to. Many people make the mistake of assuming that this term refers to a person’s land and home, but it goes much further than that. A person’s ‘estate’ encapsulates all of their net worth, which covers all funds, assets, properties, and possessions too.
Your estate is essentially everything you own, as well as everything you owe, as it also includes debts like outstanding mortgages or unpaid loans too. So, when you consult with an estate planning attorney about the concept of preparing an estate plan, you’re basically going to be planning out how all of the different parts of your estate will be distributed if you pass on or become severely ill.
A will is a part of the estate planning process, but estate planning is much bigger and more comprehensive than simply writing a will. Working with a trusted attorney can help to guide you through the entire process, and below, you can see a list of some of the many benefits associated with estate planning:
- Providing for Loved Ones – One of the main reasons to get an estate plan in the first place is so that you can provide for your loved ones, passing on the wealth, property, and personal possessions you’ve accumulated over the course of your life.
- Peace of Mind – While thinking about one’s death isn’t pleasant, many people find that they feel much more peaceful and relaxed once an estate plan has been established, as they know that their family will be taken care of, no matter what happens.
- Covering Funeral Costs – When a person passes on, it’s up to their family to cover the costs of funerals and associated services. Given that these costs can rise to $10,000, on average, having an estate plan can be essential for covering the costs and saving your family a lot of added expense.
- Control – One of the fundamental aspects of the estate planning process is that it puts control firmly in your hands. You’ve worked hard to obtain property, assets, and wealth, and it should be up to you to decide the ways in which your estate is divided, rather than leaving that task in the hands of another.
- Protecting Children – There have been cases in which children have entered the care of Child Protective Services after a parent’s passing because proper provisions hadn’t been made beforehand. Having an estate plan can protect your children from such risks.
- Saving Money – A key financial reason to invest in estate planning services is the fact that it can actually save your family money in the long run. If you only have a will, there will be probate fees to cover that can rapidly eat away at the money you planned to pass on. With an estate plan, fees are vastly minimized, ensuring that the majority of your estate goes to your loved ones.
- Aiding the Grieving Process – After a death, there’s always a grieving process for those left behind. This can be stressful, inducing feelings of sadness, depression, loneliness, and more for the bereaved. Having an estate plan can help with the grieving process, as it means that your relatives and friends won’t have to worry as much about unexpected expenses or delays in regard to reading the will.
Life is unpredictable, and you never know what might happen in the weeks, months, and years ahead. However, while we may not be able to predict the future, we can prepare for it, and estate planning is one of the very best ways that any individual can prepare for whatever lies ahead. Contact an estate planning attorney to learn more about the process.