7 P’s of Estate Planning
You have 7 reasons to plan and you can think of them as the 7 P’s of estate planning.
- Peace of Mind
If you think you don’t have an estate, think again. Your house, land, cars, jewelry, 401(k), IRAs, CDs, bank accounts, insurance policies, and more are your property.
Your property is your estate. Estate in law doesn’t mean a big fancy house, but the property you own. To protect your property, you plan.
Who are the people in your life that matter? You, your loved ones, your spouse, your children, and your grandchildren are probably the people that matter most to you. Planning protects people that matter the most.
A lot of people enjoy and expect privacy. However, if you don’t plan, your private personal and family affairs can be exposed to the public through court proceedings. Probate is public. Guardianships are public.
Planning protects privacy.
Leave it to our court system and legislatures to create a cumbersome, slow, expensive process to pass your property from you to your people. Without a plan, the legislature has decided, and the court enforces, how much each family member gets, when they get it, and how they get it. Just for this presentation, I downloaded just the laws covering the administration of an estate. After waiting quite a while for it to download, I opened it. Just these laws were 365 pages. That doesn’t include all the court rulings on those laws.
With proper planning probate is preventable.
Without a plan, you don’t have anybody named that can conduct business for you or make healthcare decisions if you can’t. Without a plan, only somebody appointed by a court can sign for you, even if you have a Will. Once the court gets involved, it usually stays involved until you recover. The court, not your family, is in control of how your assets are used to care for you. This public process can be embarrassing, time consuming, expensive, and difficult to end. And, your family still faces probate.
A Will doesn’t provide lifetime protection. A Trust doesn’t provide 100% lifetime protection.
You also need to think about protecting your people that are receiving government benefits or have disabilities. Receiving lump sums often disqualifies them from continuing to receive the benefits they need. There are ways to protect their benefits and let the get the benefit of an inheritance.
You are also protecting those you love from the rigors and hassles of Probate.
You have a plan for a lot of things. You probably have a retirement plan, financial plan, and insurance plan.
The right planning protects you, your people, property, and privacy; prevents probate; and ensures your wishes.
But, until you start, you can’t protect your people, property, and privacy.
Planning involves decisions. You need to decide who you want to make financial and legal decisions in case of incapacity; who will make healthcare decisions; and who will administer your final estate. But, don’t let these decisions bog you down. So many people put off planning because they simply won’t take a little time to make the decisions. Or they are afraid of making one child mad because they didn’t pick them.
Peace of Mind
You do all of this so you can have peace of mind and your people can have peace of mind. Knowing that you have done all you can is a relief.