Reasons Why You Need an Estate Plan Written By: Rilus M. Dana, J.D.Managing PartnerDana and Associates, LLC Posted On: 4/8/22 Modified On: 4/8/22 Filed Under: Estate Planning Original URL: https://www.danalegalhelp.com/reasons-why-you-need-an-estate-plan/ As estate planning attorneys, we understand that end-of-life planning can be difficult to get through. However, documenting your final wishes is essential for ensuring that your assets will be passed down from generation to generation. Here at Dana and Associates, we specialize in helping our clients craft a customized estate plan that honors their end-of-life wishes with compassion, dedication, and care. It’s incredibly important for everyone to have an updated estate plan, regardless of whether or not you believe that the end is near. Here are some of the key reasons why you need an estate plan: You Remain in Control One of the primary reasons why you need an estate plan is that it grants you control over your assets and major life decisions. When crafting an estate plan, you decide the beneficiaries of your estate, appoint guardians for your children, and choose how to carry out your end-of-life wishes. If you do not have an estate plan at the time of your death, you forgo the right to make such decisions for yourself. Instead, the courts will decide how to distribute your assets in a process known as probate. An Estate Plan Helps You Avoid Probate Probate occurs when you do not have a way to transfer the legal title of assets at the time of your death. Because there is no way to document your final wishes, it is now up to the courts — and not up to you — to decide how to retitle your assets. If you have an unmarried partner or a blended family, probate does not handle those situations well. Your partner may be overlooked entirely, or your spouse may have to sell the family home to split the proceeds with your children from another relationship. Additionally, the probate process can be lengthy, tiresome, and stressful for your loved ones to go through, which is why many people seek to avoid it altogether. You Can Avoid Unnecessary Transfer Taxes While Arizona does not charge estate taxes, there is a chance your estate could fall under federal transfer tax regulations. Since the IRS limits how much money is able to be transferred without being taxed, a skilled Phoenix estate planning attorney can help you create a plan that will minimize the amount of taxes owed on your estate. Your Estate Plan Protects Your Beneficiaries from Creditors Everyone wants their money and assets to be passed onto their beneficiaries rather than creditors, right? Well, setting up an estate plan is the ideal way to do just that. In the United States, creditors maintain the right to make a claim against your probate assets for the amount that they are owed. Additionally, within the probate process, creditors’ claims have priority over that of your beneficiaries. What this means is that your beneficiaries will lose part of their allotted assets to creditors. The only way to combat such is to ensure your assets avoid probate, which is done by creating an estate plan. Top-Rated Estate Planning Lawyers in Phoenix, AZ As you can see, there are several reasons why you need an estate plan for the security of your assets and the protection of your loved ones. Not only do you maintain control over your assets, but an estate plan helps you avoid a lengthy probate process, minimizes transfer taxes, and protects your beneficiaries from potential creditors. Whether you need help creating or updating your estate plan, our team at Dana and Associates LLC is here for you. Our qualified estate planning attorneys will guide you through a personal family legal session that will help you decide which of our estate planning packages best suits your needs. Contact us today!