An estate plan is something that everyone should have but would-be estate planners may wonder why they should have an estate plan. Several reasons illustrate the importance of having an effective estate plan.

The different ways an estate plan can be helpful include:

  • Plan for the needs of the estate planner – an effective overall estate plan can help the estate planner plan for circumstances when they may be incapacitated and unable to make important medical or financial decisions for themselves.
  • Help the estate planner dispose of their estate – an effective overall estate plan can help the estate planner dispose of their property and assets and ensure that their loved ones, or beneficiaries, are taken care of. It can also help them plan for their needs of their loved ones down the road.
  • Tax and probate benefits – an effective overall estate plan can also help avoid tax consequences and the costs and time associated with the probate process.
  • Peace of mind – and effective overall estate plan can provide valuable peace of mind for estate planners and their families so that both can rest comfortably that the estate planner’s wishes will be honored and loved ones will be care for.

Estate planning is not a one-size-fits-all process and various estate planning tools are available to help guide estate planners as they develop an estate plan that meets their needs and will provide security for their family members. Several different estate planning tools, including wills, trusts, living wills or advance healthcare directives, and powers of attorney, can help estate planners plan ahead and protect their interests.

Without an estate plan, families may be left with difficult decisions to make during an emotional and challenging time. Though estate planners sometimes put it off, a comprehensive estate plan should be addressed sooner rather than later. The importance of an estate plan cannot be overestimated.