Someone once said that people spend more time watching TV or shopping for a car than they spend planning their estate. Don't let that be true of you. Your heirs deserve more consideration than a TV program or a car, and a good estate plan is one of the best gifts you can provide for your family.
Sadly, a recent survey conducted for Martindale-Hubbell® reports that 55 percent of all adult Americans don't have a will. According to the same survey, there are several reasons most people don't plan. Nearly one in four (24 percent) thought they didn't have enough assets to warrant writing a will. Ten percent said it's because they don't want to think about dying or becoming incapacitated. A third group of adults said they don't have a plan because they don't know who to talk to.
Another reason not mentioned in the survey is that many people don't want to spend the money to have a will or trust prepared. There is a misconception that it costs too much to have documents prepared, and that estate planning is only for the very rich. Others are simply procrastinators, even though they know they should plan ahead.
The goal of The Everything® Wills & Estate Planning Book is to encourage you to be in the group of those who do plan. This book will help you preserve the assets you've worked so hard to accumulate over your lifetime. It is a how-to guide for ways to distribute your assets and to minimize income and estate taxes in the process. You will find there are many different options to consider when you begin planning how you want to leave your estate.
Once you understand the process, you can create documents yourself or have a lawyer help you in a cost-efficient manner. The fact is, it is not expensive to create an estate plan, but it can be very expensive to die without a plan. By becoming knowledgeable about the process, you can save your family considerable time and money.
As you read through this book, you will discover that planning your estate is not as overwhelming a task as you may have thought. The Everything® Wills & Estate Planning Book carefully guides you through the decisions you need to make before you have documents prepared. It discusses several methods that are available and gives you suggestions as to which planning documents might be best for your family.
The book teaches you the rules on each topic and will assist you in making the necessary decisions for your family in a cost-efficient manner. It will point out issues to consider, goals you might like to reach, and people and institutions you may want to support.
Another aspect of planning to include is the effect your health might have on your estate plan. With lengthening life expectancies and the uncertainties about the safety of Social Security and many corporate pension plans, it is crucial for you to make plans for your own care and possible health needs during a longer life expectancy than your parents or grandparents experienced.
According to the survey mentioned earlier, 41 percent of adults now have living wills in place, a 10 percent increase over a prior survey. The increase in living wills indicates that more adults are thinking about their own health care and how their families should deal with an illness or incapacity.
Once you begin planning for your financial future and for your heirs, you will discover that planning will provide a great sense of relief and accomplishment. Use the suggestions in this book to create a plan that works best for you and your family. Planning ahead will provide peace of mind and reassurance that you've done all you can to protect your family. Let's begin.