Estate planning benefits you and people you care about during and after your life. It is far more than making a Will that distributes your assets after you die.
You benefit during your life by appointing an agent under a Power of Attorney to make financial decisions. This lets you choose a trusted relative or friend to make decisions for you if you are disabled and avoids the need for a court to appoint a guardian for you.
You benefit during your life by appointing a proxy under a Health Care Proxy to make medical decisions. This lets you select a trusted relative or friend to make medical decisions if you are unable and avoids the need for a court to appoint a guardian for you.
Minor children or disabled persons you care about benefit from your estate planning. You can appoint a caring guardian to raise minor children and a financially responsible trustee to make their money decisions. This avoids a court appointing the guardian and trustee. You can make disabled children and adults beneficiaries of a special type of trust (a supplemental needs trust). A special needs trust will provide money for experiences and creature comforts the disabled person might not otherwise have and will not disqualify them from receiving governmental benefits.
People who will pay the expenses of your estate benefit when you plan for what will be owed and where estate tax, probate expenses, lawyer’s’ fees, accountant’s’ fees, funeral and burial expenses will come from.
People who handle your end-of-life affairs benefit when you make funeral and burial arrangements and state who will get what items of property with sentimental value. Items with sentimental value may be worth more to your heirs than their dollar value would suggest. Planning removes uncertainty about what you want and can make it easier to accomplish what you want.
Finally, planning will make it more likely your money and assets will go to the persons you choose. Planning can reduce the amount of your assets that go to pay nursing home expense, make it easier to earlier qualify for Medicaid, reduce estate taxes, and increase the likelihood that what you leave will not be squandered but will achieve good.