Too many people seem to believe having an estate plan is only for the ultra-wealthy. A Caring.com survey found that nearly 60% of all Americans have not created an estate plan, such as a will or trust to pass along their assets.
End-of-life planning is something many people in Wisconsin avoid because they don’t want to think about their mortality or they don’t consider themselves wealthy enough to worry about having a will. However, putting a plan in place sooner rather than later can protect themselves and their families from emotional and financial problems.
Reasons why an estate plan is vital
Many people believe an estate plan is only needed when you die. However, it can also help you plan for your own financial needs while you’re still alive and healthy. Here are a few of the top reasons:
- Making medical and financial decisions when you can’t: Estate plans protect you and your assets if you become mentally or physically incapacitated by naming a health care proxy to carry out your wishes for you. Creating a durable power of attorney allows the person of your choice to conduct your financial business.
- Distribute assets according to your wishes: If you die without a will in Wisconsin, your assets will be distributed by a court according to the state’s intestacy succession law during probate. Having an estate plan saves your family time, frustration and money.
- Minimizing taxes and protecting wealth: Families with significant amounts of assets can keep more of their hard-earned wealth with an estate plan, possibly a trust, protecting them from estate and gift taxes as well as other related costs.
- Secure charitable goals: Estate planning can shape how you want to be remembered by outlining your philanthropic goals and making sure they are carried out. Setting up a charitable trust or joining a donor-advised fund will help you support causes close to your heart.
Seek advice to create an estate plan that meets your needs
Estate planning can be complicated and emotional for many people. However, having a plan in place can give you peace of mind that your assets are protected and distributed according to your wishes. An experienced estate planning attorney here in Wisconsin will help you find the right plan to manage your assets now and in the future.