Do you have a will or an estate plan? For about half of Americans, the answer is “No”. The website The Motley Fool says that estate planning is an opportunity to provide for loved ones and protect your own interests in the face of life’s uncertainties.
Many people think only the rich need to do any estate planning. But, if you have a family (most especially if you have a blended family – children with someone not your current spouse) you should consider having an estate plan. For instance, if you have children from a prior marriage, if you die without a will you may “disinherit” them. When done properly, an estate plan can help you resolve issues ranging between designating a guardian for children to passing on a family-owned small business and hopefully avoiding or reducing any intra-family conflicts.
Even if you already have a will, family changes like marriage, divorce, births and deaths happen. These life events can render an estate plan obsolete.
Also, estate planning does not mean only what happens after your death. You may want to include a Health Care Directive (often called a living will) and a durable power of attorney. The Health Care Directive is in case you cannot communicate your health care wishes; the durable power of attorney in case you are no longer able to make your own business decisions.
You may have individuals who rely on you, such as minor children or incapacitated adult family members. An estate plan can help provide that their care and maintenance continues even if you are unable to provide it yourself. You can name a guardian for your children in your will and someone to take care of your minor child’s money.
If you want to talk more about estate planning issues, call me at (320) 252-4473 to talk about it.