“Until death do us part” sounds very different when you are in your twenties and getting married for the first time. As a couple travels through a life together, the time comes to create or revise an estate plan.
Granted, the estate planning process isn’t as much fun as planning a wedding but preparing for property distribution and planning for incapacity is a way to protect your spouse from having to deal with most preventable issues during a crisis. It can also prevent any number of unpleasant surprises.
Despite this, 17% of adults don’t think they need a will, believing that estate planning is only for the very wealthy. No matter how few assets it seems someone owns, completing a few documents can make a huge difference in the future.
valuewalk.com’s recent article, “Couples: Here’s How To Start The Estate Planning Process” notes that although estate planning can seem overwhelming, taking inventory of assets is a terrific place to start.
Make a list of all your belongings of $100 or more in value, both inside and outside of the home. After that, think about how these assets should be divided amongst family, friends, churches, or charities.
Drafting a will may be the most critical step in the estate planning process. A will serves as the directions for how assets are to be distributed, which can avoid unpleasant disputes.
A will can simplify the distribution of assets at your death, and it also provides instructions to your family and heirs.
Also, a will can set out directions for childcare, pet care, or any additional instructions or specifications.
Without a will in place, your assets will be distributed according to state law, rather than according to your wishes. Creating a will keeps the state from making decisions about how your estate is divvied up—decisions you may not have intended.
Once you have your assets and beneficiaries set, see an experienced estate planning attorney and have your will drafted immediately. Hey, life is unpredictable.
Another important part of the process is to have a discussion with everyone involved to prevent any legal or familial disputes regarding the estate.
Here’s just a few things that can happen if you don’t have an estate plan: family battles, missing assets, problems with medical professionals during emergencies, litigation and court costs. Having an estate plan is a far better alternative.
Reference: valuewalk.com (July 22, 2019) “Couples: Here’s How To Start The Estate Planning Process”