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What happens to all of the wealth you have accumulated after you pass away? That is Estate Planning—making a plan ahead of time to decide who will benefit from all you accumulated during your life. This concept has recently been highlighted by the passing of a music icon. Ms. Aretha Franklin passed away without having a will or a trust in place, meaning her estate and its beneficiaries will be decided through the public probate process. This can be lengthy and costly to an estate.
With all of the different aspects of Estate Planning, it is important to understand that these tools are important for everyone, not just the retired or the wealthy. Death is a difficult topic for many people which makes Estate Planning all the more important to address. Many people don't plan because they have a false sense of security that nothing will happen to them, they believe they have plenty of time, or they believe that their loved ones clearly know their desires. Often times, people pass away with no plan in place and their families are left to navigate difficult decisions and sometimes probate through the state.
Good estate planning includes much more than who receives your wealth, however.It should include, not only passing on your valuables, but also passing on your values—meaning how you wish to take care of minor children, family members with special needs, life insurance to care for your family should something happen to you, incapacity and medical wishes for yourself, business transfers, and cost reduction strategies for your survivors. Estate Planning is an ongoing process that should be reviewed and updated as needed on a continual basis.
Estate Planning doesn't have to be expensive and can be as simple as organizing your records, titles, insurance policies and being certain your beneficiaries are designated properly. The greatest benefit of planning ahead is knowing that your family will be protected and your wishes will be fulfilled when you are no longer here. For Ms. Franklin, we hope that her estate will resolve quickly and with little heartache and cost to her family.
As always, we are here to help. Contact us today to set up an appointment and we can help you create your own comprehensive estate plan that will meet your goals and fulfill the needs of your loved ones.