National Estate Planning Awareness Week is almost here! This year, it’s Oct. 19-25.
Yes, the U.S. House of Representatives really did establish this “holiday” back in 2008 via House Resolution 1499 after discovering that not only do over 120 million Americans lack an up-to-date estate plan but also that two-thirds of older Americans say they don’t feel they have sufficient knowledge to establish one.
Armed with numbers like these, Rep. Mike Thompson (D-CA) and 49 of his fellow legislators established National Estate Planning Awareness Week as a special week set aside each year to provide much-needed estate planning information to the American public. They tasked the National Association of Estate Planners and Councils and Universal Press Syndicate with spearheading this effort. Since then, many estate planning organizations, including us here at AmeriEstate Legal Plan, have joined the effort.
What is Estate Planning?
In a nutshell, estate planning is the process you go through to put a legal plan in place to protect yourself and your family in case something happens to you. In other words, it’s your written legal game plan that will guide your loved ones if they have to make important decisions without you.
Estate Planning Myths
Unfortunately, you may be one of the many people who believe one or more of the following estate planning myths:
- Only wealthy people benefit from estate planning.
- Only older people need estate planning.
- You don’t need estate planning if you own everything jointly with your spouse or partner.
- Estate planning is complicated, expensive and time-consuming.
- If you have a will, that’s all you need.
- Once you establish an estate plan, it’s written in stone and can’t be changed or updated.
None of these myths are true. Regardless of your age or the state of your finances, having your own well thought out estate plan and updating it as your needs and those of your family change, can give you the peace of mind that comes from knowing that you’ve done everything possible to provide for the financial well-being of yourself and your family, both now and in the future.
Things to Think About
Remember, your estate plan is specific to you, your needs and your wishes. Consequently, you’ll want to ask yourself questions such as the following:
- Who do I want to finish raising my minor children if my spouse or partner and I die at the same time as the result of an accident or other catastrophic event?
- What do I want – and what don’t I want – in terms of medical care if I become ill, injured or incapacitated?
- Do I own a family business for which I need to devise a succession plan in the event of my death?
- Do I have any personal property, like a piece of antique jewelry or a set of tools, that I’d like to leave to a specific family member or friend when I die?
- Do I want to provide for my pet after my death?
- Do I want to make a bequest to my alma mater, church or favorite charity?
- Do I want to limit how much one or more of my heirs receive after my death or the way in which he, she or they receive it?
National Estate Planning Awareness Week is the perfect time to start or update your estate plan. Contact AmeriEstate Legal Plan today.