As we get older life ebbs and flows. We may change, the people in our lives may come and go, and other circumstances or priorities may shift. So it only makes sense that an estate plan must reflect these changes as they happen. Estate planning is often a neglected aspect of future planning and it’s easy to put off, but it must be current at all times to ensure that our affairs are in order. To protect our assets, loved ones, and final wishes, having an estate plan is essential. And not only that, but the plan has to reflect your current life, relationships, and assets.
As a Helena estate planning attorney explains, estate planning is a process of preparing for and managing your assets in life, and then choosing what you want to happen to them after you die. An estate plan can include wishes about health care decisions, final arrangements, powers of attorney, guardianship for children, and so much more. So if you don’t already have the estate plan, then the ideal time to begin is now. Do not wait. You may think that you do not have enough assets to write an estate plan, but this is probably not the truth. As anyone who has something that they value, whether that is monetary or not, probably wants to pass on these assets to those they care about the most.
What many people may not realize is that if you die without having a will or estate plan, then you risk your assets being dealt with by the court system based on law. This means that there is going to be minimal flexibility or consideration for what your wishes would have been. This is why it is so crucial to have an estate plan, and update it as life changes, since it will instruct how you want your estate to be transferred to those in your life, whether individuals or charity organizations. If you have questions about beneficiaries or other elements of estate planning, consider consulting with a lawyer, as our friends at Silverman Law Office, PLLC recommend.
The people or organizations you want to leave some of your assets to are called beneficiaries. While most people name their closest loved ones as beneficiaries of the estate, exactly who you give assets to will be a personal choice that only can be made by the creator. But keep in mind that once your estate plan is established, you’ll need to revisit it if you have a significant change in your relationships or asset value. For instance, if you get married, then you probably want your spouse to inherit your assets if you pass away. And if you were to suddenly accrue more assets that are high in value, you’ll probably want to make sure these are protected by adding them into your estate plan documents.
Thinking about a time when you are not here can be a scary one, and estate planning may cause you to feel this way. But ultimately, having these documents makes sure that what you have built over the duration of life is distributed to those that you cherish the most. These beneficiaries should be people who value you and would be honored to inherit part of your legacy that they will take with them into their future.