Estate planning is an act of love. Too much really? Not really. Here’s why: When you plan for your estate, you are telling your surviving family and friends you love them because you are giving them the gift of stress-free inheritance.
Planning for an estate is generally not the first thing that comes to mind when you get married, buy a house or experience an increase in earnings. An estate can be defined in many ways, both in the abstract, in popular terminology and in legal terms. For the purposes of legal estates, Investopedia defines an estate as:
“An estate is everything comprising the net worth of an individual, including all land and real estate, possessions, financial securities, cash, and other assets that the individual owns or has a controlling interest in”
Whey You Should Plan Your Estate
One need not be a multimillionaire or a billionaire to consider estate planning. One need not be someone over 70 either. Estate planning is always a prudent financial and legal action that helps your loved ones once you pass away. The benefits of estate planning are many but primarily they include the knowledge that once you are gone, your material wealth will be in the hands of the people you choose and with the lowest tax liability. By planning ahead you save your loved ones the potential for stress and financial burden in the form of litigation or attorneys fees.
Mark Shalloway of Shalloway and Shalloway in West Palm Beach, Florida explains the importance of proper estate planning at any age:
“Many people underestimate the net worth of their estate or even do not understand the basics of what constitutes an estate. One of the more inspiring aspects of being an estate planning attorney is the act of educating my clients. When I explain the specifics and the options associated with inheritance and estates to my clients in Florida I try to bring across the importance of planning ahead. One never plans for one death. But one can plan for the financial circumstances following one’s death when it comes to what we choose to leave our friends and family and how we disburse our inheritance. This, in itself, is an act of responsibility, of love and of duty towards one’s children, wife/husband and other heirs.”
Estate Planning Laws
Estate planning laws vary in every state. In Florida, for example, the specifics of power attorney and durable power of attorney are very unique when compared to other states across the country. The same holds true for estate taxes. Because Florida has much lower tax rates, many retirees decide to move to Florida from states like New York and New Jersey that have much higher tax liabilities on estates. This move helps maximize the dollar amount that goes one’s heirs.
By planning ahead and preparing for the futures of people who love you in the event of your passing, you are giving a gift quantifiable in both dollars and love.