What keeps you up at night? Well, if Estate Plan fears aren’t among them, you may not be aware of the dangers of having a poorly structured Estate Plan.
The reality is that everyone has an Estate Plan. Some have created a plan for themselves by drafting a Will or Trust. Everyone else is going to have to rely on the “Government Estate Plan” that has already been established by lawmakers when they pass away without a Will or Trust. Either way your property is going to be inherited by someone. The difference between the two is whether you have any say in the matter.
In a recent Forbes article (below), one of the primary fears of not having created an estate plan is the emotional state of the heirs left behind. When asked to rank the importance of passing on 1) values; 2) experience; 3) charitable contributions; or 4) money, most rank money last.
When money is ranked last, it means that passing on intangibles is the most valuable inheritance they could receive. So, why would you just want to leave them a chunk of money when you pass away? Wouldn’t you rather leave them with the ability to fish than leave them with a basket full of fish?
This is the power of Estate Planning. You have the ability to “speak beyond the grave” and state your wishes in ways that a “Government Estate Plan” would never allow you to do. For example, you have the ability to distribute your estate only for educational purposes. This would incentivize your heirs to at least attempt to further their education. You can also establish charitable contributions trusts that would help your heirs understand the value of giving back.
When you look beyond the pure financial aspect of estate planning, you can see that there is so much power in passing on more than just money. You have significant power to use your money for good beyond your life when the proper plan is put into place. If you are interested in learning more about the effect of estate planning in planning for your loved one’s long term well-being you should contact a qualified estate planning attorney to learn more.
Matt Pfau is an attorney and founding partner at the law firm Parry & Pfau. Matt has a background in business consulting, estate planning, business start-ups and bankruptcy and is licensed to practice in both Nevada and California. A partner in the firm Parry & Pfau, he can be reached at 702-912-4451 or firstname.lastname@example.org.