Estate planning is a vital piece of financial wellness, but many Americans overlook it. For example, the National Association of Estate Planners & Councils says that well over half of Americans do not currently possess an up-to-date and valid estate plan. In fact, the majority of Americans who are over the age of 65 depend entirely on their Social Security payouts. This is not the most financially secure retirement. With proper estate planning, Americans can go into retirement with more confidence and security.
What is National Estate Planning Awareness Week?
The National Association of Estate Planners & Councils along with Rep. Mike Thompson (D-CA) are responsible for the creation of National Estate Planning Awareness Week. Rep. Thompson and 49 other Representatives passed a law in 2008 resulting in the creation of the event. The idea was to explain to more Americans why estate planning is important and why it is necessary to do. Many Americans believe that estate planning is only “for the rich,” when this is far from the truth. It is true that different estates require different approaches. However, everybody can benefit from an estate plan, no matter what their net worth may be. That is why National Estate Planning Awareness week exists.
Why is an estate plan important?
A proper estate plan can help ensure that your assets pass along to your chosen heirs in a manner that you deem appropriate. With an estate plan, you can also ensure that your estate avoids tax and probate as much as possible. You can also put certain requirements on assets. For example, maybe you have an adult child with an addiction. You may be worried that your child may not handle his or her inheritance very well. However, you can place legal limitations on what ways your heirs can access your assets. You can require your child to submit themselves to sobriety tests or stay on a specific medication to receive money from your trust. You can also make sure that you provide for any loved ones with disabilities if you have a strong estate plan.
Can an estate plan help me while I am still alive?
Yes: a comprehensive estate plan will not only help your heirs after your death. Many aspects of estate planning can help ensure your financial and physical wellness while you are still alive. For example, an advance directive can delineate a clear “line of command” should something happen to incapacitate you during your lifetime. The most common advance directives are Durable Powers of Attorney for healthcare protection and asset protection. Having advance directives in place ensures that a trusted person is in charge of making medical and financial decisions for you.
Planning out how you will cover the costs of additional care and assistance as you age is also very important. You may need to move into assisted living. Understanding the relationship between your personal assets and Medi-Cal and Medicaid is important in many instances to ensure that you can afford the care that you need. Working with us at AmeriEstate can help you come up with the right estate plan for your retirement needs and beyond.