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6 Reasons You Need an Estate Plan

Estate Plan
While you can purchase generic papers at an office supply store that will help you draw up your own will, this is not advisable. A will is only one of the several documents that makes up a complete estate plan, and you'll want professional assistance from someone who is knowledgeable on the current laws so that your estate plan is done correctly.

When you're considering your plan for how you want your belongings to be handled, note the following reasons why an estate plan is necessary no matter what your circumstances.

1. Create an Inventory of Your Assets

When you put together your estate plan, you'll need to list all of your assets. When you make this list you have to take a closer look at whether you'll have the money you need throughout retirement. If not, you'll be able to work with the estate planner to come up with ways to grow those assets, as well as reduce any debts that you may have so that they don't take away from your bottom line. 

2. Make Health Care Directives

Besides finances, an estate plan also includes any health care directives you'd like established. Not only will you be able to list what actions your loved ones should take in the event that you are no longer capable of making those decisions, but it also allows you to appoint an individual to make any additional decisions on your behalf. 

3. Provide Care for Loved Ones

If you are caring for aging parents or a special needs individual, you need to have an estate plan so that the care you provided will continue long after you are gone. You'll be able to specify exactly how you want the care to continue. If you have young children, you'll also be able to appoint a guardian for them and someone to be in charge of dispersing their inheritance.

4. Retain Control of Your Finances

Without an estate plan, you have no say in what happens to your money after you're gone. The court will look to the intestacy laws of the state where you resided. The judge will use those laws to determine who receives the assets you left behind.

Instead, create your plan and specifically list who gets what and when so that you keep control. You can even set aside money to be given to your grandchildren when they reach college age.

5. Keep Your Business Running Smoothly

In order to prevent your business from having to temporarily shut down after your passing, you'll need an estate plan. A professional will help you record who you want to take over the daily operations of the business. Your professional will also show you how to cover all the estate taxes so that the IRS doesn't leave the company with a sizable debt. 

6. Handle Your Funeral Arrangements

Another important part of your estate plan should be your final wishes in regards to your funeral. Let your loved ones know everything that is important to you, such as whether you want to donate your organs and whether you'd like to be cremated.

Include where you'd like to be buried and if you'd rather have friends and loved ones donate to a particular charity in lieu of purchasing flowers. Finally, you'll want to ensure enough money has been set aside to cover all of the funeral expenses. 

When you're ready to begin your estate plan, contact Wright, Ward, Hatten & Guel, PLLC . In addition to estate and trust planning, our professionals are ready to assist customers with everything from tax management to payroll and bookkeeping services for your business.