Creating an estate plan and maintaining it up to date is crucial. Yet, recent research shows that only a third of adults living in the U.S. have even made one.
If you, too, have not made yours, see if any of the following reasons sound familiar:
- I haven’t gotten around to it yet: 44%
- I do not have enough to pass on to worry about it: 33%
- It’s too expensive: 13%
- I don’t know how to do it: 12%
Can’t I just die without one?
You can, but you are giving up the right the determine what happens to your assets. You are leaving the probate court to decide according to the state’s intestate rules, and it might not result in the choices you would prefer. It could also result in your loved ones paying more tax or your assets being taken by any creditors you still owe.
Estate planning can also help you while you are still alive
Careful estate planning can get you the medical treatment you want and need. For example, you may be able to manage your estate, so you retain entitlement to Medicaid and their health services while still keeping assets aside for your loved ones.
You can write down any treatments you would not want to receive in case an accident or illness leaves you unable to communicate your wishes to the doctors. Or you could nominate someone as your healthcare power of attorney to speak up for you.
It’s clear that there is a lot of misunderstanding about estate planning. If you have not yet made yours, consider legal help to get some accurate information and get started.