Estate Planning in a Down Economy: Not Just for the Wealthy
A recent Lawyers.com survey reveals a drop in estate planning for 2009, with only 35% of Americans having a will. Although the down economy is causing everyone to cut corners and cut back, the repercussions of not having an estate plan upon death haven’t changed. No matter what your net worth, just as you are still putting money into your 401K for retirement, it is essential to have a basic estate plan in place to relieve your family of the unnecessary stresses related to end-of-life issues and probate.
Estate Planning Can:
- Protect assets from creditors;
- Preserve family wealth for future generations;
- Put conditions on HOW and WHEN your assets are distributed;
- Assure that your money and property go to the people YOU intend upon death;
- Prevent disputes or confusion regarding inheritances;
- Declare whom you want making medical and financial decisions for you if you are incapacitated; and
- Reduce estate and gift taxes.
Plan in advance to avoid court battles involving end-of-life decisions or post-death family disputes, which cost much more than the basic estate plan.