Why is estate planning important? There are some things, of course, that you know.
Getting a guardian for your children. Making sure that the right people get the things you want them to get. But there are other reasons that you might not have considered that estate planning is important.
I’m Sarah Siedentopf. I’m an estate planning and probate attorney in Atlanta, Georgia and we’re going to talk about why is estate planning important, the things you might not have considered. And the first one is that estate planning is about you.
And I use that term, estate planning, as opposed to just doing a will because doing a will is something that you do and then it comes into effect after you have passed away. If we’re going to do estate planning, it usually involves more things than a will. It may involve a will. It doesn’t necessarily have to involve trust or anything like that, but it’s going to involve a financial power of attorney an advanced directive for healthcare, the other global planning documents that you need, and these documents are particularly important because they are for you during your lifetime, making sure that there is someone there for you if you have a problem who can make those medical decisions, who can make those financial decisions, sign those legal documents, making sure that you are taken care of during your lifetime.
So that is the thing that people often forget. Estate planning is about you and protecting you during your lifetime, not just who gets your things after you’ve passed away. Another thing that people often forget is that 18 is not a responsible age. We focus a whole lot on what happens before a child turns 18 and then when we talk about, as parents, what age should a child inherit money at, people always say, “Oh, 18, you know, when they’re of legal age.”
It’s not a responsible age and I have found that as parents come in and they have children who are 18 or are closer to 18, they are less likely to want to give their child money right away and we want to think about who might be able to take care of it for them until they’re 25 or at least have graduated college, something like that. But 18 is not the time that you want your child to inherit all of the help that they are ever going to be able to get from you.
Another thing that people don’t think about with estate planning and should is it reduces fighting. It is easy to think that, my family will respect my wishes, but if you don’t have your wishes set down legally in writing, it causes a lot of conflict because there are certain things that multiple people will want and each person will have their own idea of what you would have wanted. Of course, having an estate plan does not mean that there will be no family conflict, but it does cut down on family conflict because you have clearly stated your wishes and made them legally binding so that there isn’t wiggle room.
These are three reasons that estate planning is important and that people sometimes forget about. If you’ve got more questions about estate planning, please feel free to give me a call. I’d love to hear from you. And if this was helpful, please feel free to comment. Thank you.
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