So many people put off estate planning. When you’re young, you don’t think you own anything of enough value to be concerned. When you’re older, professional and personal responsibilities take up so much of your time that planning for the (hopefully far off) future seems like it can wait.
According to AARP, about 60% of Americans have not taken care of their estate plans.
The truth is that it’s never too early to start your financial planning. In fact, putting off estate planning can seriously limit your options. In the worst scenario, it could mean leaving your family to deal with your debt or probate issues.
What Is Estate Planning?
You may have a preconception in your mind that tells you that estate planning is a time-consuming and expensive process. That’s not necessarily true. If you have straight-forward finances, it’s likely that your estate planning process can be handled simply and in a minimal amount of time. And it will protect your loved ones in the event that something happens to you.
Virtually every person who owns anything of value has an estate. Even if you’re just starting out, you likely have a bank account, savings, own a vehicle, etc. Those belongings are all part of your estate. If you have a job with a retirement plan, that plan is part of your estate. You might also have life insurance and any number of belongings.
All the things you own and all of the debt you’ve accumulated belong to your estate. A small estate actually makes you more vulnerable because, when you pass, the red tape can make it costly for your family to settle your estate since the value of your assets may not cover the expenses.
Why Plan Early?
If you’re putting off estate planning because you don’t think you have one, you’re probably mistaken. Another thing that you should realize is that not planning your estate will not prevent disaster. In the event that you’re rendered incapable of handling your finances, it leaves your family in a difficult position of trying to legally assign someone to act as your guardian. Depending on the law in your state, it might not be the person you would choose to assign yourself.
Estate planning does include writing a will and making decisions about who your beneficiaries are in the event that you should die, but it’s not just about bequeathing your possessions.
What happens if you’re rendered incapacitated? What happens if you have a memory issue and can no longer legally assign your own caretakers? These issues can all be assigned through the estate planning process. This way, in the worst-case scenario, you’re not leaving your family members with costly legal expenses in order to assign your medical and financial guardian.
This is how many people find themselves in a conundrum. Once an elderly person is diagnosed with a memory issue, it may be too late to take legal precautions to protect their assets and provide the best care for their long term needs.
How to Deal with Your Loved One’s Estate
The truth is that many people don’t really think about estate planning until they’re in the thick of it. If you have a parent or elderly relative who’s recently downsized and considering their estate options, or has left you their home, it can be a great reminder that we all need to plan for our property — especially if there have been complications getting through their estate due to a lack of planning.
If you are in the position that you’ve inherited their home or need to liquefy a loved one’s assets to prepare for a transition to assisted living, HomeGo can help. Our local agents can provide you with a same-day cash offer and close in as little as 7 days. Dealing with a change in health status for a loved one can be draining and time-consuming, but selling the home doesn’t have to be.