Even if you do not have a large amount of assets, you should still implement a comprehensive estate plan. Not doing so can result in major problems for your intended beneficiaries when you do finally pass away. Whether you are close to retirement or not, estate planning ensures your family and loved ones are taken care of in the case of something unexpected happening. Here are some key reasons why you should not delay in planning your estate. 

Take care of your beneficiaries 

If you pass away with no estate plan in place, your assets will be subject to intestate laws which are rules for how an individual’s estate is distributed following one’s death. The result may be not what you would have wanted to happen if you had a say. Creating an estate plan ensures that you do indeed have a say as far as who will receive which assets. 

Generally, an estate plan will have a will or trust which are legal documents designed to enable you to choose your intended beneficiaries. 

Protect your minor children 

You can use a will to also give guardianship rights to any minor children you currently have guardianship over. However, you can also create separate guardianship designation documents if you are using a trust-based estate planning strategy without a will. 

Minimize tax liabilities 

Another good reason to develop a comprehensive estate plan is to avoid having to pay unnecessary taxes which can deplete the assets you leave to your heirs once you have finally passed away. There are various estate planning strategies, such as trusts, that can help you minimize estate taxes. Also, you can help your heirs avoid paying income taxes unnecessarily in some cases as well. A wealth management professional will have the expertise to provide you with the best options for effective tax planning for your estate. 

Avoid family conflicts 

Ensuring you have a comprehensive estate plan can also help to avoid conflicts between family members and loved ones when it is time to distribute your estate. Without an estate plan you will leave your family and loved ones with no instructions as to what your wishes are. Often, this will result in family members who feel they should be given certain assets of your estate. This leads to fighting over disagreements regarding what to do with your estate. 

Your potential heirs may battle each other in probate court. In the end, this will deplete the resources of your loved ones which would be the opposite of your objective in leaving your estate’s assets to them. An estate plan can help to avoid conflicts which can completely sever relationships between the people you love and care about. 

Create an estate plan now 

The consequences of failing to develop an estate plan are significant realities which should not be ignored. In fact, the right time to start estate planning is right now, no matter your age or the size of your estate. A wealth management specialist will be able to provide the path for you to start planning for the future of your intended heirs and beneficiaries. 

Any opinions are those of the author and not necessarily those of RJFS or Raymond James.  The information contained in this report does not purport to be a complete description of the securities, markets, or developments referred to in this material.  Raymond James and its advisors do not offer tax or legal advice.  You should discuss any tax or legal matters with the appropriate professional.