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The Importance of Estate Planning

Several posts ago, the two approaches to elder law were introduced: the proactive and the reactive approach. As I mentioned, the proactive is less costly and more time efficient, and avoids potential legal difficulties in the future. This approach includes the preparation of several important legal documents. Recently, I have spent time explaining powers of attorney. However, I would like to shift our focus now to the last will and testament, and highlight its importance in estate planning.

The reality is most Americans die without any estate planning. There are many reasons for this. Some do not want to think about and plan for their own deaths, or believe that it is a waste of time and money because their estate is not large enough to plan ahead, or the law will satisfactorily distribute their estate upon passing away. NOT SO!! Everyone should develop a comprehensive estate plan that includes a last will and testament.

A last will and testament is the legal document that takes effect at the moment of death, at which time it becomes all controlling. This document directs how you want your estate and affairs to be handled. The advantages and objectives of drafting a last will and testament include:

  • Distribution of your assets to be desired beneficiaries;
  • Naming guardians for minors;
  • Naming a trusted person to serve as Executor;
  • Planning for succession or sale of a family business;
  • Establishing trusts for minors or disabled beneficiaries
  • Providing for charitable bequests; and
  • Providing for continued support for your surviving family members.

It makes sense to draft a thorough last will and testament. Think about it. You have spent your entire life working hard to provide a good like for you and your family. You have spent years developing your own legacy. Do not let that hard work go to waste. Long after your passing, you can continue your legacy by providing for your family, loved ones, and preferred charities by drafting a will.

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