A recent online survey found that nearly 60% of all Americans do not even have a will, which is a very high number because 100% of Americans will die. In essence, this is why everyone needs an estate plan. However, for those with children or with a high net-worth, the need for an estate plan becomes much more urgent.
Parents need to name guardians
The most crucial item needed in a parental estate plan is guardianship. A guardian is the person that will care for minor children, should their parents pass away. If one does not name a guardian, a family law judge will appoint a guardian based on the minor child’s closest living family member, like their grandparents, uncles, aunts, etc.
Of course, that family member will have to agree, but the deceased parents’ relationship with these individuals is not considered. And, if there are multiple family members that want to become the guardian, this could cause a huge familial fight.
Selecting potential guardians
Before selecting a guardian, parents should think about who they would want to raise their children, should they pass. They should keep in mind that person’s health and ability to raise children, and ensure that the list includes back-up guardians. Then, before making those selections final, talk to those guardians to ensure that they are willing.
High net-worth means probate
For those families with a high net-worth, without an estate plan, their estate will have to pass through probate, where the court will determine who gets what based on state law. It also means that all the heirs will likely have to retain an attorney, and one’s estate will be taxed at the maximum rate and amount because no mitigation techniques were used. Collectively, this means that when one’s estate passes, it will be much less than it should have been, and the costs associated with that transfer will be much higher as well.
Help, when help is needed
For Terrell, Texas, residents looking at estate planning, now is the time to start. Help, of course, is available, if needed.