Though it’s inevitable that every life will come to an end, it can be hard to accept and think about your own passing and how your loved ones will go on without you. No one likes to think about certain topics, and death is one of them. So it’s not entirely surprising to find out that only 32% of adults in the US have a will, trust, or estate plan, meaning the grand majority of people do not have one of these documents in place to dictate what will happen to their assets after death.
What Happens If You Have No Estate Plan?
Without an estate plan, important matters that you could dictate based on your preferences and knowledge will be settled either by your family members or, if they can’t agree, litigated in court. This includes where your savings and investments go, who retains custody of your minor children, who takes responsibility for your pets, and who will have to pay off your debts. If you have assets, they can be depleted by this process so by the time your loved ones do see it, they get much less than you expected, and the rest goes to taxes, lawyers fees, and other related expenses.
Put Arrangements in Place for Your End of Life Care
As a Mom or Dad, you’re likely to feel an obligation to your children that doesn’t end when you pass away. Planning your estate ahead of time can help keep them from overspending due to being emotional. If you have no plan for your funeral, burial plot, or necessary arrangements, your next of kin will have to decide on these items in the days after your passing, when they are emotionally fragile. The U.S funeral market is valued at around $20 billion with 2.4 million funerals happening around the country each year. It’s easy for an upset loved one to get caught up spending on your funeral and end up in debt.
Avoid Unnecessary Arguments Between Family Members
Many families have been torn apart by arguments over money, property, and other assets. Emotions run high in the wake of death and grief can make it hard for people to act reasonably. By having a plan for where everything will go and how your personal items that you’ve worked hard for are to be distributed, you can help your loved ones avoid many of these heated arguments.
How to Set Up Your Estate
In many locations, you do not need the assistance of a lawyer to write a will that the law will recognize. In others, one visit to a legal advisor is good enough to set up your estate plan. To prepare for making your estate plan, make a list of all your assets, including investments, savings, family heirlooms, vehicles, and any property you own. You can decide where you want these items to go and make a plan to distribute them. Next, you can consider whether you want to be cremated or buried and purchase a plot or vault, so you have a plan set for when you pass.
Save Money For Your Future Estate
You can save money for your future estate by paying off your mortgage and improving the efficiency of the home. For example, installing an AC unit with good energy efficiency ratings reduces your monthly energy bill. By reviewing the Energy Efficiency Rating (EER) and the Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER) before buying a new unit, you can start saving money each month to put towards your savings and pass on to your loved ones. You should also obviously keep up with your bills now, so that your family in the future won’t be dealing with Blumberg eviction forms or anything of the sort!
It’s never too early to plan your estate and get this task out of the way, so you don’t have to worry about how your loved ones will deal with the practical aspects of your loss.