October was designated as National Estate Planning month in 2008 by Congress. The resolution noted “Many Americans are unaware that lack of estate planning and financial illiteracy may cause their assets to be disposed of to unintended parties by default through the complex process of probate.”
People fail to plan due in large part to an unawareness of why they should, but also because they have an errant philosophy that they are not wealthy enough to warrant estate planning.
According to a WealthCounsel survey in 2016, “Nearly half of all respondents believe that estate planning is only for the ultra-rich and most people don’t need it.” Setting our house in order biblically is a task that everyone should do. Here are five main reasons why estate planning is essential:
Our family is the most precious gift that God has given to us. If you do not name a guardian for your minor children, the probate court will choose one for you. Leaving their safety and provision up to chance is simply not good stewardship of our relationships or family members.
In this life we never know when our health could be impacted suddenly and put our family or business in crisis as a result. Planning for the possibility of health challenges provides a security and back-up plan that is necessary for everyone.
Courts and Conflict.
It is unfortunately common that the people left behind often can find themselves in multiple battles they did not anticipate. Rather than leaving all that we worked for in this life up to chance, we can control the distribution of our assets instead of letting the government control it through the probate court. Planning in advance can help to avoid the stress, delays, and costs of probate and also help to reduce or eliminate Federal Estate & “IRD” Taxes.
Business and Tax Implications.
Our business is also susceptible to a lot of loopholes unless we safeguard and intentionally plan for the future business partners who will succeed us. Planning is necessary to ensure that the legacy we want to leave is not swallowed up by taxes or an unnecessary burden of endless paperwork and logistics placed on our loved ones.
Legacy of Generosity.
There are tools and techniques that will allow us to make a tax deductible gift to our church, favorite ministry, or charity – beyond the grave. Live out a purposeful legacy That continues the lifestyle of generosity and blesses those in our lives.
How we live matters as much as how we die. Don’t let the state decide your legacy. Steward your estate plan well, so unnecessary taxes and burdens can be avoided.