Estate Planning: Not Something You Should Put Off

What are the risks of waiting to create an estate plan?

It is a common belief that estate planning is only for the elderly, terminally ill and very wealthy.  However, everyone can benefit from a well-drafted estate plan, regardless of his or her age, health or socioeconomic status. Failing to have an estate plan can expose an individual to a number of risks. While nobody wants to think about death or the possibility of becoming disabled or incapacitated. Unfortunately, incapacity happens more frequently than people realize.  With people living longer the chances of becoming incapacitated have increased significantly.  Therefore, a well-designed estate plan will take this into account.  Without the appropriate estate planning documents, such as a durable power of attorney and advanced medical directives such as a  living will for example an individual’s wishes will not be followed or worse, will be totally unknown. 

Another problem with waiting to create, or totally foregoing, an estate plan, is that it will make it much less likely that the wishes you have relating to after your death will be followed.  Whether you want your assets distributed in a certain way, you want a particular send off or you desire a particular guardian for your children, without an estate plan it is unlikely that these wishes will be fulfilled.  This is because without a will the law of your state will dictate how these matters will be handled.  These laws do not take into account the deceased’s desires.

If you have particular wishes about how your matters relating to the end of your life or the time after your death are handled, it is best to have an estate plan so that your wishes are carried out.  An experienced trusts, estates and elder law attorney can help you put together a comprehensive plan.
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