Every year, I’ve vowed to start my Christmas shopping earlier. I figured if I was organized and purchased all of my gifts early, I could enjoy a stress-free holiday season. However, I failed again last year. I knew preparing for the holiday season early would make it more enjoyable. I also knew I needed to not only purchase the gifts, but wrap them in pretty packages – because what good is all of my hard work if it isn’t wrapped up with a pretty bow?
Estate planning is similar. Without proper planning, you may leave your loved ones stressed. Creating an estate plan that is properly packaged will provide you with the utmost protection and assure your legacy. Wouldn’t you rather leave your family with a gift that is tied up with a pretty bow?
The process of creating an estate plan not only ensures your assets will pass as you wish after your death, but it provides you with the opportunity to review and organize your financial documents. As my husband and I were creating our estate plan, we discovered that his mother was still the beneficiary of an IRA that was established in 1998. We were able to make this important change because we were prepared.
Estate planning usually begins with a trust or a will. If you own real property, you should have a trust. However, the benefits of an estate planning package are far greater. Estate planning provides protection if you become incapacitated, and it could minimize expenses and taxes after your death. The ultimate benefit of easing the burden on your loved ones is the “pretty bow.”
January starts a new year. As your friends and family discuss their various resolutions, tell them you’re resolving to get organized and ensure that your legacy is protected. Creating an estate plan is the perfect way to start the New Year and enjoy a stress-free 2018. Happy New Year!
Kariann Voorhees is an attorney and partner at Voorhees & Ratzlaff Law Group