Loving Well through Estate Planning

During the month of February, we are surrounded by hearts and chocolates and messages of love on all sides. We have a day set aside to tell those we hold dear just how much we love them. The store shelves are filled with plush hearts, red candies, jewelry, and cards so that we can show our loved ones just how much they mean to us. But that is just one day. Why not show them a more lasting kind of love?

One way to show love and care to your family and loved ones is through estate planning. It seems like many people devote more time to planning a vacation or selecting a spot to eat dinner than they do to estate planning. It may not be as fun to think about as booking romantic Valentine’s getaway or checking out restaurant reviews, but without estate planning, you can’t choose who gets everything that you worked so hard for.

Estate planning isn’t only for the rich. Without a plan in place, settling your affairs after you go could have a long-lasting—and costly—impact on your loved one. It involves determining how an individual’s assets will be preserved, managed, and distributed after death. It also takes into account the management of an individual’s properties and financial obligations in the event that they become incapacitated.

Why Is an Estate Plan Necessary?

Protects Beneficiaries

Once upon a time, estate planning was considered unnecessary for the masses. If you did not have great wealth to leave behind, there was no need to worry about what would happen to your assets after you died. However, that is not the case today. All families need a plan, or they could face the consequences of going through probate.

The main component of estate planning is designating beneficiaries for your assets, whether it’s a bank account, summer house or a restored Camaro. Without an estate plan, you cannot decide who gets your assets, and your loved ones will have to go through a probate process that can take years, rack up fees and get ugly. The cost of going to court and the time it takes to get the matter settled is added stress on your grieving loved ones. Lawyers’ fees, time missed out from work, and all that will go into the final outcome can eat up the inheritance that you left for your family.

Eliminates Family Quarrels

We’ve all heard the horror stories. Someone with money dies and the war between family members begins. One sibling may think they deserve more than another, or one sibling may think they should be in charge of the finances even though they’re notorious for racking up debt. Such squabbling can get ugly and end up in court, with family members pitted against one another.

Stopping fights before they start is yet another reason why an estate plan is necessary. This will enable you to choose who controls your finances and assets if you become mentally incapacitated or after you die and will go a long way toward quelling any family strife and ensuring that your assets are handled in the way that you intended.

Protects Children

If you die without a surviving spouse to take care of your children and other dependents, who will get custody of them?

Without an estate plan, the probate court will appoint a legal guardian/conservator for them — typically, a family member, such as a grandparent, as the guardian. Alternatively, a third party, such as a family friend, can petition the court to be appointed as the guardian. If a minor child has no surviving family members and a third party doesn’t step forward, the child could become a ward of the state and enter the foster care system.

To ensure that your children are cared for in a manner of which you approve, you’ll want to name their guardians in the event that both parents die before the children turn 18.

These are just 3 reasons among many others that show how estate planning is loving your family well. This Valentine’s Day make a date with an attorney to leave your family is the best possible shape after you’re gone.

Comprehensive Estate Planning Guidance in Lee County

Are you concerned about what will happen when you pass away or are no longer able to reliably communicate? Proactively building an estate plan can ease uncertainty, and The Law Office of Kelly L. Fayer, P.A. is here to help. Our Fort Myers estate planning lawyer has 25+ years of experience and can provide the attentive, personal support you need to protect the things most important to you. We are passionate about helping people in our community and are confident we can offer the skilled guidance you need to achieve your objectives, no matter your needs.

Call (239) 208-0189 or contact us online to schedule an initial consultation.