I have been an attorney now for nearly 20 years. Whenever I am introduced to new people it is common for them to ask what I do for a living. When I let them know that I am an attorney this leads to the next question that is asked: “What kind of law do you practice?” When I mention that I do estate planning most individuals indicate that they believe they don’t need an estate plan or that getting one would cost them too much money. This always leads to an interesting conversation about how affordable estate planning is compared to not having it done. Here are the 3 main reason Estate Planning is affordable now.
1. AVOID A FIGHT OVER CHILDREN
Perhaps the single most important reason to get your estate planning done, particularly if you have children who are under the age of 18, is to provide for your family. This includes naming a guardian for your minor children who will take care of them in the event you and your spouse passed away. If you do not make a selection through estate planning on who the guardians of your children will be then the court will have no choice but to hold a guardianship proceeding.
In a guardianship proceeding any member of your family can step forward and make a claim that they would be the best person to be the guardian of your children. This often leads to disputes and fights within the family, often between well meaning uncles, aunts and/or grandparents which are costly (way more than completing your estate plan) and time consuming. This can all be avoided by you simply completing your own estate plan.
2. AVOID A FIGHT OVER YOU
The second area over which estate planning can prevent problems is directly involving you. If you become incapacitated and are no longer capable of caring for yourself or your property or finances, then a court will hold a legal proceeding to name a guardian for you individually. Again this can easily lead to a disagreement or fight within your own family about who should be appointed as the guardian. Keep in mind, that whoever is named as your legal guardian will have the power and the authority to access and handle all of your finances including all of your bank accounts. For this reason if you do not name somebody that you trust in your estate planning through a power of attorney, someone could be appointed by the court that you wouldn’t choose who could easily take advantage of your property and/or money for their own purposes.
3. AVOID A FIGHT OVER YOUR PROPERTY
The final reason that estate planning is more affordable than not getting it done is when you pass away. After you die the property that you leave behind will have to be passed on and distributed to someone else. I have seen countless situations where there was no specific Will that directed where property was to be distributed. As a result, families often fought over the property through costly legal proceedings. Aside from the actual legal costs involved in such a fight, the worst part of this situation is the emotional cost that it takes from a family. Oftentimes families will never speak to each other again simply because they could not agree on how to distribute your property. If you create your own last will and testament your property will be distributed exactly how you direct. If your family members are not happy about this they will be angry at you, rather than at each other.
If you are interested in avoiding the high monetary and emotions costs described above, we can help. Call us toll free at 877-232-6101 or 208-232-6101 for a consultation with Lane Erickson and the Racine Olson team of Estate Planning attorneys in Idaho. You can also email Lane Erickson directly at email@example.com. We will answer your Idaho Estate Planning questions and will help you solve your Idaho Estate Planning problems.
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