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10 Reasons for Going into Estate Planning
Estate Planning is not only for the rich and famous, it can also be beneficial for "common folks" like us.
Nowadays, people are becoming more and more aware of estate planning. True, the rich and famous have known about (and have applied) this concept for a very long time. But even those who are not rich and who do not have many worldly goods are starting to realize that estate planning applies also for these “common folks”. Estate planning benefits not only the rich folks, it can also be an advantage to those who are not rich. This I have learned firsthand when my father died (quite unexpectedly I might add). Okay, we are not rich but my father did leave several properties when he died. He, however, did not leave any will or written document to specify how these properties will be divided, who gets whom and what are the provisions for his young grandchildren (if any). Luckily for my siblings and me, we quickly came to an agreement on how to deal with things. Unfortunately for me, I was the one who was “assigned” to deal with most of these things. This quickly made me realize that it is really helpful to have an estate plan. Keeping this in mind, I have compiled 10 reasons (there are more, lots more) why one should go for estate planning.
It provides Peace of Mind. Estate planning is challenging but after you draw this up, you can take a deep breath, relax and put your mind at ease, knowing that you have done everything (legally) possible to protect the rights of your family and loved ones, even after you have died.
It ensures that your Property (or Properties) is Left to the people you have identified in your last will and testament. This last will and testament (which is part of your estate planning) can help you ensure that the people to whom you intend to bequeath your properties are really the people who will get these properties. Make sure that your last will and testament is legally airtight so that there will definitely be no questions about it!
Since you have already specified who will have what, you can be sure that your properties will go to their intended beneficiaries at the Soonest Possible Time. Believe me, this one I found out quickly when we have to draw up the alternative to the last will and testament (called an extra-judicial settlement here) and we had to dig up all the documents supporting my father’s ownership on his properties. This, apparently, took much more time than if there was a formal last will in the first place.
It can also help Minimize the Estate Taxes that your estate or your heirs will have to pay the government after you die just to get your estate to be released to them. Taxes on one’s estate can be quite expensive and cumbersome for the heirs of the deceased. The higher the value of your estate, the higher its taxes will be. If you go into estate planning, you might find ways to help reduce these taxes and ease the burden of those who will have to shoulder them.
It can help Protect the Interest of those who need such protection. This is true for those who have children or beneficiaries who are still minors or have not yet reached legal age. Going through the process of estate planning and having one eventually mean that your children’s and beneficiaries’ future are well-protected even after your death.
Estate planning can also Protect Your Properties just in case you are unable to do so (or in between the time after your death and before the actual transfer of the properties to your heirs). Good estate planning means you get to also designate a good and trustworthy agent or family member to take care of the properties for you.
You may Specify Your Funeral Arrangements through a properly executed last will and testament. This includes how the related funeral expenses will be paid. Specifying such arrangements will help your family to cope with the funeral arrangements when they are still in grief.
Estate planning may also Specify the Medical Care Arrangements that you would like to have if and when you are no longer able to communicate your wishes. This means that estate planning is not only for the “in contemplation of death” phase in your life, it is also in anticipation of such cases when you are still alive but are no longer in the position to control or verbally communicate the right medical care for you.
It can also Make It Easier for You to Retire during your advanced years. This is another reason why estate planning is also for those who anticipate still living a long life. Estate planning may include health care and other benefits that can help you retire comfortably while ensuring that you have already provided for your loved ones during your retirement and even when you died.
Lastly, do you have a favorite charity? Well, you can actually Bequeath your Properties to Your Favorite Charity or Foundation through the last will and testament. This means that the charity or foundation can still get your support even after you died because you included it in your estate planning.
Estate planning may be a somber or “morbid” idea for most people but, believe me, it is one of the most practical things that you can do during your lifetime. Estate planning does not have to be expensive nor does it have to be fancy but it will surely make a lot of things easier not only for your family but for you too.