Most people understand and acknowledge that they need an estate plan. Despite this, most Americans do not have one. There are many possible explanations for this dichotomy. One of them being that people are unsure how to take the first step toward creating an estate plan. In the hope of getting everyone started on their estate planning journey, the estate planning attorneys at Wilcox Attorneys, PA explain how to take that first step in estate planning.
Why Is Estate Planning Important?
Understanding why you need an estate plan could be considered the most important step in the estate planning process. An estate plan protects you, your assets, and the people you care about both throughout your lifetime and after you are gone. Even the most basic estate plan prevents you from dying intestate (without a Will) which, in turn, ensures that the state doesn’t decide what happens to your assets. An estate plan can do so much more though. An estate plan can also plan for the possibility of your incapacity, help your estate avoid probate, and decrease the impact of taxes on your estate as well as protect a child with special needs, make sure your pet is well cared for if something happens to you, and even protect your assets if you need to pay for long-term care in the future. In short, you have everything to gain and nothing to lose by creating an estate plan.
Is There a First Step in Estate Planning?
Because the concept of estate planning is unfamiliar to most people, it is common to want a step-by-step guide when embarking on the creation of an estate plan. Estate planning, however, is very personal and unique to everyone. To start, you should take some time to consider what your estate planning goals and needs are so you can ultimately create a plan that works for you and your circumstances. Making sure that your estate assets are handled according to your wishes will undoubtedly be one of your estate planning goals; however, beyond that, your goals and needs may be very different than someone else’s. If you have minor children, protecting the inheritance you leave them will be a priority. Conversely, if you are nearing your retirement years, planning for the high cost of long-term care should be a top estate planning goal.
How Do I Get Started with My Estate Plan?
The other thing you should do before any estate planning actually occurs is to enlist the assistance of an experienced estate planning attorney. Given the importance of your estate plan, it is not something you want to try and create using the DIY documents you find online. While taking the DIY route may appear to save you time and money in the short run, it frequently costs your loved ones much more in the long run because it increases the likelihood that your estate will end up in litigation. With that in mind, your first estate planning step should be to find the right estate planning attorney for you and your needs.
Contact Estate Planning Attorneys
For additional information, please sign up for one of our FREE estate planning webinars. If you have additional questions or concerns about how to take the first step in estate planning, contact the experienced estate planning attorneys at Wilcox Attorneys, PA by calling 479-443-0062 to schedule your appointment today.