Berman & Asbel, LLP

Estate Planning: It's Not Just About Your Money

When you think about an estate plan, you probably think about wills and who will get your property. You might also think about tax incentives and penalties. In other words, many of your thoughts will center on the financial elements of an estate plan.

This can make it easy to assume that you don't need an estate plan if you don't have a lot of assets or property to pass down. However, this can be a costly assumption to make, as there are several non-financial elements of estate planning that can be of benefit to you and your family, regardless of how much money you have.

Preventing contentious fights

When the time comes to distribute assets, make funeral arrangements and finalize your affairs, your loved ones can be dealing with grief and anger on top of the stress that comes with administering an estate. Under these circumstances, fights can and do break out, even among people who usually get along.

You can avoid or at least minimize these battles by preventing conflicts from arising in the first place with an enforceable will and clear instructions for your wishes.

Managing your physical needs and care

The time may come when you cannot make decisions regarding your health. Under these circumstances, you likely want someone you trust to make them for you and with the confidence of knowing what you want. As noted in this Forbes article, assigning a health care power of attorney and having a living will in place can achieve this.

Security for your family

Your estate plan is about more than what you want to happen to your things; it is also about providing your family and loved ones with some security. This could be in the form of a trust or inheritance, or it could be in the form of thorough planning.

Knowing that you have already addressed issues like guardianships, funeral arrangements and other elements of your estate can lift the burden from your loved ones and make it a little easier for them to cope during a difficult time.

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