Over 64 percent of Americans don’t have a Will. And if you’re not retired yet, that number is even higher. So why is it that no one wants to start their Estate Planning? Not enough time? Too complicated? Or just plain laziness? These are just some excuses people use to justify their procrastination. But how wise is it to leave your legacy (assets, property, etc.) up to fate, or even worse, the court system?
Consider that family heirloom that you inherited from your dear ol’ grandma. Yeah, the one that she carefully—and rather responsibly—planned to bequeath to you upon her death. What happens to it if you don’t have an estate plan? Not quite sure? Here are a few more very important reasons why you should start your Estate Planning now!
Surveys show that a shocking 70 percent of Americans (with children under 18 living in the household) don’t have a Will. We imagine ourselves raising our children and sending them off to the world—hoping that they grow into responsible model citizens who can fend for themselves. But is it really safe to assume that you’ll be there to take care of your kids until the age of 18? As we all know, life doesn’t always work that way. We do everything we can to protect our children when we’re alive but do you ever wonder what will happen to them after you pass away? It may be an unpleasant thought, but it’s best not to leave your children’s livelihoods up to fate.
2. Big Life Event
Even if you don’t have any children, big life events are bound to happen. From marriages to divorces to even the death of a loved one, these events may have you reevaluating how you want to distribute your assets and property. For example, if you’re planning to get married, your priority will probably shift from just “you” to a collective “us.” What will happen to your significant other after you pass away? Are you certain that all your assets and property will be passed down to them—and not your immediate family members? Grief is already an enormous stress on anyone. Make life easier for them so they don’t have to deal with financial or legal nightmares during their time of mourning.
Just like your children, you want to make sure your pets are taken care of. And if you’re like 99 percent of pet owners, your pets are your children. But have you thought of what will happen to your tiny creatures after you pass away? Your pets will need to be assigned a permanent caregiver to ensure that they’ll be fed, housed, and loved for the rest of their lives even after you don’t have the ability to do so.
4. Digital Assets
We create so much digital content on a daily basis, but over 90 percent of Americans don’t know what happens to it all after they pass away. You may be wondering: What are digital assets anyway? Well, they’re textual content (word documents, presentations, spreadsheets, passwords/logins), images (photography, logos, illustrations), and multimedia (animations and videos) stored in a digital format. These also include your social media accounts. If you don’t want your accounts floating around in cyberspace after you pass away, you should explicitly express what you want to do with your digital assets. Do you want your social media accounts to be deactivated? Would you like to pass down your collection of digital photos to your close friend? You probably want to distribute your digital assets to different people so it’s best to outline this clearly, and appoint a digital executor who is tech-savvy enough to make it happen.
5. Feud Prevention
A lot of people (falsely) assume that their family will appropriately and fairly distribute their assets and property. Unfortunately, that’s not always the case. Some family members may feel entitled to a certain property, while others may be excluded from the entire distribution process. The last thing you want is your family feuding over your assets, especially since it could’ve been prevented with an estate plan.
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