Some individuals in Kansas City may think they do not need estate plans. After all, maybe they don’t have much in the way of wealth. Some simply trust that their loved ones will take care of things after they are gone. And some don’t want to think about the fact that some day they will die. However, since disaster or death could strike at any time, it is best to be prepared.

First of all, an estate plan allows individuals to stay in control of their assets, even after they pass on. A will or trust can be created that designates who will receive your property after you die. If you die intestate, it is the state, not you, that will determine who inherits your assets. Moreover, an estate plan can include a delayed inheritance, among other specifics, that would not take place if you died intestate.

Small business owners should also put some careful thought into estate planning. With the right estate planning documents in place, should you suddenly pass, your business can continue to operate in the manner you desire. This can provide some comfort to those who have spent years building their businesses from the ground up, and wish to see them continue on to future generations.

Estate planning also allows for your private matters to remain private. If you die intestate, your estate goes through probate court, becoming public information. However, potential privacy problems don’t end there. Your estate plan can include a list of passwords and account information which can be made available when you die or if you become incapacitated. Without such a list, it could take a long time and a lot of headaches for your loved ones to obtain your account information.

And speaking of incapacitation, with an estate plan you can choose who you want to take care of your assets and make medical decisions for you if you are no longer able to do so. This could be of comfort not just to you, but to your loved ones who, without an estate plan, would be forced to make some very hard decisions.

As this shows, there are many reasons to create an estate plan. While contemplating death isn’t exactly pleasant, knowing that you are not only documenting your wishes but also relieving the burden on your loved ones may make the estate planning process easier.

Source: Kiplinger, “5 Reasons You Need an Estate Plan,” Gregory Ricks, August 2016

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