What is an estate plan and why have one?

If you're like many people, you know that an estate plan has something to do with having a will. You’d also be correct if you said it involves making certain other types of end-of-life arrangements. A good estate plan goes further and takes into account your current financial and tax objectives.

Not many of us get up in the morning and wish we could spend the day working with our solicitor to create an ‘estate plan.’ However creating (or updating) a plan is among the most important things you can do.

When you do, you:

  • Ensure the property you have accumulated over your lifetime goes exactly where you want it to go. If you don’t have a Will or living trust, the intestacy rules apply, which may or may not be in accordance with your wishes.
  • Give directions to be followed in case you become incapacitated and can’t make decisions for yourself.
  • Organise your affairs and designate an executor who will handle them when you are gone.
  • Appoint a guardian for any minor-aged children.
  • Provide for any special needs your loved ones may have.
  • Specify the type of funeral arrangements you would like.
  • Remember and provide for friends, pets, and organisations you care about who may not otherwise be considered in a default Will.

By planning, you also make things easier for your family. If something happens to you, it will be a very difficult time for your family members and other loved ones. How wonderful it would be if they knew exactly what you wanted to have happen and have the means at hand to follow your wishes. Consider the planning you do now to be your final future gift to your loved ones.