Studies find that the vast majority of Americans do not have any estate planning documents in place. This is a perplexing phenomenon because everyone is aware of the fact that dying is one of the two certainties of life.
Some people find it hard to think about their own mortality, and others know that they should take action, but they procrastinate for one reason or another. In this post, we will share five reasons why you should put an estate plan in place in 2023.
The condition of dying without an estate plan is called intestacy. Under these circumstances, the probate court would supervise during the estate administration process.
They would name a personal representative to act as the administrator. The assets that comprise the estate would be identified and inventoried, and final debts would be paid. When everything is in order, the assets would be distributed under the intestate succession laws of the state of New York.
It is very possible that your true wishes would not be carried out if the state is forced to follow these guidelines. Someone that you would never leave out could be disinherited or shortchanged, and a relative that you are not close with could be a beneficiary.
There is no reason to take any chances with intestacy when qualified estate planning assistance is just a phone call away. Your first plan will reflect your life situation at the time it is created, and you can adjust the details periodically when things change.
Designate a Guardian for Dependent Children
Even if you do not have a significant store of resources, if you are a parent of minor children, estate planning is an absolute must.
If you create a simple will, you can designate a guardian that would care for your children if it ever becomes necessary. As long as there are no reasons why the court determines that the person is unfit, your wishes would be honored.
Protect Your Young Family
Aside from guardianship, there are other estate planning considerations for young families. Most couples rely on two incomes to make ends meet, and the sudden loss of one of them could be devastating.
You should take this very seriously if you are going through life without an estate plan. You should carry enough life insurance to act as an income replacement vehicle, and you could establish a trust that would hold the assets for your children if both parents pass away.
Assert Your Medical Care Choices
Would you want to be kept alive indefinitely through the use of artificial means if you were in a terminal condition and unable to communicate? You can answer this question in a living will, so this advance directive should definitely be part of your plan.
You can add a durable power of attorney for health care to name a representative to act on your behalf. The agent would be empowered to make decisions that are not directly related to life-support utilization.
Your incapacity plan should be fortified with a Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) release. This would give doctors the freedom to discuss your condition with your health care representative.
Unburden Your Loved Ones
When you pass away, your family members are going to go through a lot of emotional upheaval. If you have no estate plan, they will have to try to figure out the logistics without any guidance, and this makes a difficult situation that much harder.
Plus, hard feelings can develop if everyone is not on the same page. This can also enter the picture if you have no advance directives, and you are unable to communicate your health care decisions late in your life.
If you do the right thing and put an estate plan in place, your wishes will be honored, and your loved ones will not be forced to sort everything out on their own.
Attend a Free Webinar!
You are here because you are interested in learning more about estate planning, and we are offering some great opportunities in the near future.
Our attorney S.J. Khalsa is holding some estate planning webinars, and you can learn a lot if you attend one of these sessions. There is no charge, but we ask that you register in advance so we can reserve your spot.
You can see the dates if you visit our Manhattan, NY estate planning webinar page, and when you identify the session you would like to attend, follow the simple instructions to register.