Some may not want to talk about it, but having a plan in place will help you to have less stress because you know everything is looked after.
Here are four important reasons for having an estate plan:
1) To control who receives and manages your assets. You have the opportunity to decide who receives how much, you can ensure that your named executor is willing and able to accept the responsibilities and you can name a money manager for any trust assets.
2) To minimize administrative and legal fees. If you have everything in place, costs will be lower than giving professionals (who usually charge by the hour) more work to do.
3) To transfer a greater share of your assets to your heirs and charities. You have the opportunity to plan a tax stategy that will maximize assets to be distributed.
4) To protect your heirs. It may be the black sheep of the family, or a disgruntled second spouse/partner that would like to have the money you intend for your beneficiaries.
An estate plan is not meant to be a one time exercise, here are the top reasons for ongoing review:
1) Marriage or second marriage.
3) Death of a spouse or beneficiary.
4) Birth of a child or grandchild.
5) A significant change in net worth. Examples are receiving an inheritance, stock options or a retirement allowance.
6) The purchase of a house, primary residence or rental property.
7) Purchase or sale of a business.
An updated will is usually a starting point, but there are many other factors to consider. Your advisor will be able to provide you with an estate planning checklist which is a good reference for your estate plan.
Dotting all the I's and crossing all the T's by documenting your assets and your wishes is a great way to sleep easy.