We don't like to devote time to preparing our will and other estate planning documents because it's just not a lot of fun. But think about doing the necessary planning as writing a love letter to your family. It tells them that you cared enough and did not want them to have to clean up a mess.
Most Baby Boomers – a whopping 40% - don't' have a will, according to a recent AARP survey. And if that's not a high enough number, try this: 71% of all Americans over the age of 34 don't have a will. Imagine just how many heirs are being left in the dark as the result of our refusal to accept the inevitable and plan for our descendents!
But like it or not, if you don't think about your estate planning, it can really cost your loved ones down the road. That's why you should read this report from Angie's List found on myChamplainValley.com called "Angie's List: Estate Planning Pointers."
You may realize that if you die without a will, your assets go to your spouse if you have joint ownership. But anything that's not jointly owned—like a car or a ring—could cause a lengthy and stressful probate experience. You need to decide who you want to have these assets, especially if you're in a second marriage and you are trying to provide for your spouse as well as children from a previous marriage.
"While no one looks forward to planning their estate or funeral, it's something we should all do because it can be considered a gift to your family because you're reducing stress that would be on them at that time," said Angie Hicks, Angie's List Founder.
An estate planning attorney can advise you and file the necessary paperwork to make certain that your assets are given away as you specify.
Parents should think about creating a trust that gradually gives funds from the inheritance so kids don't get too much too soon. Trusts are great for folks with young children or a child or children with special needs.
You also need to have Robert A. Gordon of Redkey Gordon, an experienced estate planning attorney, draw up a health care directive in the event of a medical crisis that leaves you unable to communicate. Make these very important decisions ahead of time so you're not leaving that burden to a family member to figure out.
Show your descendants and heirs that you really love them by starting your estate planning and discussing your wishes with your family members soon – even during holiday gatherings. It will make it easier for them when you do pass away and will give them another example of your thoughtfulness.
Reference: myChamplainValley.com (VT) (December 7, 2015) "Angie's List: Estate Planning Pointers"