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Why do I Need an Estate Plan?

In a nutshell, estate planning is the process of preparing for death and dying.  Because death comes to us all, it seems only logical that planning for death is something everyone should do.  However, statistics show that most Americans don’t have a basic estate plan.  The reasons are various, but it’s not hard to draw a conclusion that people simply don’t enjoy talking about death, let alone set aside time to meet with an attorney and plan for it.

Understanding the benefits of estate planning can help us feel a greater urgency to do it.  Here are 10 reasons to do an estate plan:

  1. Choose who will receive your estate* after you die (i.e., your “beneficiaries”).
  2. Choose when and how your beneficiaries will receive your estate (e.g., outright or through a pattern of limitations/conditions).
  3. Choose someone you trust to be guardian of your minor children if you and your spouse die.
  4. Choose someone you trust to carry out your wishes after you die (i.e., your personal representative and/or trustee).
  5. Choose someone you trust to manage your finances if you lose capacity (i.e., your agent over property) and to make healthcare decisions and state your treatment desires if you lose capacity (i.e., “Advanced Medical Directives”).
  6. Reduce administrative burden on loved ones (e.g., avoid probate/conservatorship, organization, outline instructions and desires, etc.).
  7. Reduce confusion and disputes among family over property and your wishes after your death.
  8. Protect your beneficiaries from losing their inheritance to third-party claims (e.g., lawsuits, divorce, IRS, etc.) at the time of your death.
  9. Protect children from prior marriage from becoming disinherited by step-parent.
  10. Protect assets from being subject to lawsuits, IRS, medical spenddown, etc. during your lifetime or for surviving spouse (e.g., “irrevocable” trusts).

*Broadly defined, your “estate” is everything you own when you die.

One word to summarize the overarching benefits of estate planning is “control.”  Preparing an estate plan is taking control over what happens when you die or lose capacity.  When you don’t have an estate plan, you are leaving it up to the default laws of the state—which may lead to undesired results.  Not to mention, no planning leaves your loved ones with an administrative mess to sort out when they are trying to grieve your loss.

It’s easy to procrastinate estate planning until you experience serious health problems, but because no one knows how death or incapacity will come, it’s important to make it a top priority.

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[This publication is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal, financial, or tax advice.  The contents should not be relied upon without consulting a professional.]

© Copyright 2018 Hadfield Law Firm, PLLC

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" My husband and I went in to meet Matt after being recommended by another attorney. We went in not knowing much about estate planning. He taught us so much, he’s..." read more
- Bailie
 
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"I worked with Matt in 2015 to help me understand and administer my father’s trust. I needed reliable and honest expertise in Arizona since I reside in a neighboring state...." read more
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"Creating a Living Trust is a difficult task and can be very challenging. I had the pleasure of working with Matt who not only took the time to explain everything,..." read more
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Hadfield Law Firm, PLLC 5 out of 5 based on 4 ratings.
Hadfield Law Firm | Preserving your legacy - Building your trust | Lehi, UT
5 out of 5 stars My husband and I went in to meet Matt after being recommended by another attorney. We went in not knowing much about estate planning. He taught us so much, he’s very patient and caring and willing to answer endless questions and to explain things we knew nothing about. Our experience with Matt made us feel prepared and reassured that he will continue to be there for us when we need help. We also felt our purchase was a great deal and he offered different payment options. And again he could have tried to upsell us and get us to spend more money for “important” reasons and never tried that once. I would absolutely hire Matt again and I’m so grateful we met him and got to achieve our goals with an honest and helpful person.
Hadfield Law Firm | Preserving your legacy - Building your trust | Lehi, UT
5 out of 5 stars Professional in every way!
Hadfield Law Firm | Preserving your legacy - Building your trust | Lehi, UT
5 out of 5 stars I worked with Matt in 2015 to help me understand and administer my father’s trust. I needed reliable and honest expertise in Arizona since I reside in a neighboring state. Matt’s experience and guidance was instrumental in helping me understand and execute the trust. He assisted me every step of the way, explaining and re-explaining (when necessary), administering paperwork, and providing references to contractors and service providers so that I could complete tasks quickly. I am grateful for his counsel during my time of need. I would fully recommend Matt and his team for anyone needing estate or trust assistance.
Hadfield Law Firm | Preserving your legacy - Building your trust | Lehi, UT
5 out of 5 stars Creating a Living Trust is a difficult task and can be very challenging. I had the pleasure of working with Matt who not only took the time to explain everything, but also explained various options in an effort to accomplish what I needed. He is a great communicator, explains things well, and listens to your needs. He's very professional with a warm personality, maintains his commitments and is very knowledgeable in his field. His honesty and desire to assist provided me comfort and made me feel very satisfied with the overall outcome. I highly recommend Matt for any estate planning you might be considering. His qualifications and performance are truly excellent.