This month the National Association of Estate Planners & Councils (NAEPC) celebrates National Estate Planning and Awareness Week from October 20th-26th to raise awareness and boost education for Americans about the importance of estate planning.
According to the American Bar Association, 55% of Americans die without a will or estate plan. Typically, estate planning has been associated with the elderly only, but more and more young families are benefiting from the process of estate planning to protect assets and make medical care wishes known.
Many young families may not immediately consider estate planning because:
- they are young and healthy;
- they do not think they can afford it;
- they do not understand its value.
No matter what age you are, the course of someone’s life can change dramatically by a sudden accident or illness. Having an estate plan in place helps you plan for the future and secure a better peace of mind.
Estate Planning Process: The Basics
The process does not have to be expensive. There are basic estate planning documents that can be added to as the years go on and financial situations improve. A good estate plan for a young family will include the following:
- naming an administrator;
- providing instruction for distribution of assets;
- naming a guardian for minor children;
- naming a person to manage children’s assets.
When you name a person as an administrator in your will, you are entrusting this person as responsible for final financial matters regarding your assets, bills, and the hiring of an attorney or other advisors. For most married couples, they want assets left to the surviving spouse, if one of them dies or assets left to care for their children, if both parents die.
Depending on how beneficiaries are set up, some assets will transfer automatically to the surviving spouse. However, an estate plan is still necessary in the event a person becomes disabled and his or her spouse needs access to finances to continue medical care, paying bills for the household, and ongoing care for the child(ren).
Appointing a guardian for your children is important if something should happen to both you and your spouse. This can be a difficult decision to make, but it is a valuable one, because if a guardian is not named, the court will have to appoint someone without knowing your wishes or that of your children other family members.
The court will also appoint someone to oversee your children’s inheritance unless you have included instructions in your estate plan. The court’s appointment will cost money taken out of the inheritance and the inheritance will be split evenly among the children once they reach legal age. Setting up a trust for your child’s inheritance allows the opportunity for you to select someone you trust to manage it and set it up as you wish for it to be distributed.
Make Plans for the Future
Estate planning helps ensure that your wishes are upheld for the benefit and protection of your family and assets. Estate planning attorney Matthew Odgers wants the community and his clients to be aware of all their options when setting up an estate plan.
He knows just how quickly life can change its course and he wants to help you be prepared. If you are seeking advice about estate planning in San Diego, contact our office today to schedule your free consultation.