Estate planning is the process of putting together documents to help better ensure your assets are handled according to your wishes. You can use a variety of legal documents to achieve this goal, including a will or putting together trusts as well as healthcare directives and powers of attorney.
But where to begin? The first step is often to get a will. But why should you take that step? What is the benefit? The following are three of the biggest reasons to take this step and get a will.
#1: Reduce family tension
It is not uncommon for loved ones to get into disputes over the estate — often with the best of intentions. They may truly believe that their interpretation is what you wanted, and each loved one may have a different understanding of what that means for the estate. This can fuel discord and expensive courtroom battles. You can reduce this risk by putting together a will and sharing your intentions with your loved ones. This helps them to understand what your wishes are and can increase the chances that they respect those wishes and focus on grieving instead of fighting for what they think you wanted.
#2: Save your estate money
Going through probate takes time and can deplete the estate. Having a will can provide the opportunity to avoid this process and may also lead to other discussions about how to make the most of your estate. There are various ways to set up an estate that can reduce its tax obligations and ultimately save the estate money.
#3: Protect business interests
Business owners or those with significant business interests are wise to have a will to outline how the estate should handle these interests. They should also have a business succession plan to help better ensure business operations transfer smoothly and mitigate the risk of any issues during this already difficult time.