The creation of an estate plan or last will is an important protection for both you and the people you love. Far too many people make the preventable mistake of delaying the creation of their estate plan indefinitely, which may mean that they died intestate or without a last will.
There are many different reasons why creating a last will sooner rather than later will benefit you, but there are three benefits that are nearly universal reasons to start estate planning now.
Your legacy may be how people remember you
You want to make a profound and lasting impression on people while still alive. Your legacy could include your professional, artistic or academic works, your family, or local community contributions, such as volunteerism or donating to charity.
While you can’t control how people perceive you, you can control the legacy you leave behind when you die. The creation of an estate plan that considers the needs of the people you love and the change you like to make in the world can leave a lasting positive impression. From funding a trust to pay for your children’s college to leaving money for a charity about which you are passionate, the options for your legacy are nearly endless.
Dying without a will leaves your loved ones vulnerable
Whether you have a spouse, a romantic partner to whom you have no formal legal ties or children, the people you love likely rely on you for emotional support and practical or financial contributions as well.
If you die without a last will, your estate will have to go through probate, which can mean many months without access to those important assets. Also, the state won’t be nearly as nuanced or careful when determining how to split your assets as you could be.
Your estate plan also protects you after an emergency
A comprehensive estate plan doesn’t just include a last will. It also has power of attorney documents, advanced medical authorizations and other important forms that inform people of your wishes and authorize others to make financial or medical decisions on your behalf.
In the event that you get into an accident or become so ill that you cannot handle these issues on your own, a thorough estate plan will empower and guide people to care for you until you can resume those responsibilities.