According to the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College, only two-thirds of households over 70 years old have a will.
This statistic highlights the lack of estate planning among seniors. If you are in this group, there are several reasons why this issue is important to you.
1. Protecting assets
You may have spent a lifetime accumulating assets, including a home, along with savings and investments. Without a proper estate plan, these assets could be at risk. Estate planning helps protect your wealth from unnecessary taxes and ensures it gets distributed according to your wishes.
2. Healthcare decisions
In the face of health-related challenges, there may come a time when you cannot make medical decisions on your own. Estate planning allows you to designate a trusted individual who can step in and make healthcare choices when you are unable to do so. This not only provides you with much-needed support but also safeguards your medical preferences.
3. Providing for loved ones
If you wish to leave a legacy for your children and grandchildren, planning ahead allows you to designate beneficiaries and specify how you want your assets distributed. This not only provides for your loved ones but also minimizes the potential for family disputes, maintaining family harmony.
4. Avoiding probate
Neglecting proper estate planning could subject your assets to probate, a costly and time-consuming legal procedure. A well-thought-out estate plan can help your estate bypass probate entirely or, at the very least, streamline the process.
5. Minimizing tax liabilities
Estate planning opens the door to a range of tax-saving strategies, including the establishment of trusts, gifting and leveraging exemptions. These techniques can substantially reduce the tax burden on your estate and beneficiaries.
Estate planning provides peace of mind and takes a burden off of your loved ones. It also enables you to express your wishes clearly, ensuring they honor them when you are gone.