Estate planning is a critical step in securing your legacy and carrying out your wishes precisely as you intend. It’s a process that requires thoughtful consideration and careful execution. That’s why it’s essential to take a proactive approach.

Benefits of a Proactive Estate Plan

Proactive estate planning means taking action even if you are young and healthy. There are many benefits to proactive estate planning, including:

1. Best Decisions

When you are not acting under pressure from a life event, you can carefully consider your options. This helps you make informed decisions that are your best decisions to meet or exceed  your goals. From this point forward, you should regularly review and update your plan to reflect changes in your life and changes in the law.

2. More Flexibility

An early start provides you with the framework and flexibility to respond to changing circumstances. Legal-technical changes occur regularly.  Adjusting your estate plan regularly assures that your plan adapts to the most current law and any life changes you or your family experiences.  Regular updating ensures that you plan will remain current in the face of significant life changes, like a divorce or the birth of a child.  Regular formal updates provide flexibility and adaptability in your plan.

3. Higher ROI

A proactive approach allows you to secure the value of your assets for your loved ones. What is the cost if you didn’t get around to updating your estate plan when you wanted?  How do you measure the cost of having the wrong Health Care Agent named when you are unable to communicate with doctors?  Being proactive and adaptive ensures that your plan is up to date and meeting your goals as they change over time, delivering real return on investment.

4. More Control

An early start with estate planning gives you greater control over your affairs. You get to decide when you are considered disabled, who manages your assets and makes financial decisions when you’re unable to do so, providing direction from you for them to follow. Without a proactive plan, these decisions may fall into the hands of the court or individuals who don’t fully understand your preferences.

5. Peace of Mind

Knowing that you’ve taken control and put a comprehensive estate plan in place can provide tremendous peace of mind and prepare your family. It removes the worry of what might happen if you become incapacitated or unexpectedly pass away. Your loved ones will also appreciate learning their roles and responsibility proactively, enhancing your plan’s clarity and direction during a challenging time.

Steps to Consider

Here are some general considerations that individuals typically have in mind when beginning their estate-planning journey:

  • Setting Clear Goals: Determine your objectives for your estate plan, whether it’s providing for your family, supporting charitable causes, or minimizing tax liabilities. Professional guidance can help you create customized estate plans that align with your goals.
  • Identifying Correct Tools: The estate planning tools you employ should be tied to your stated goals.  Often pre-digested conclusions about wills and trustsdon’t line up with the goals. Consult with an attorney experienced in estate planning to ensure you use the right tools for you that meet legal requirements.
  • Adjust Asset Ownership: Properly owning your assets makes your estate plan work the way you intend.  Most married couples don’t realize that their estate plan may not do what they think it will do because they don’t address how they own their assets during the estate planning process. This includes beneficiary designations.  This is often disregarded, and such disregard often renders the estate plan impotent.
  • Keep Your Plan Current:The preparation you take will correlate to how smooth your estate is settled at your disability or death.  Regular formal updates at a set interval are the best way to ensure that your estate plan meets your goals.

Early action can prove invaluable in your estate planning journey, and so can professional assistance. If you’re ready to get started, reach out to Edward S. Clay, P.A. Law Offices. We can help you create a comprehensive estate plan that meets your unique needs and goals. Contact us today to learn more!