Do you own a home? How about a classic car, even one that isn't in mint condition? If you are like a lot of individuals in Northern Illinois, you own your own business and all the assets and equipment that go with it.
If you answered yes to the first two questions and the third scenario describes you, it can be truthfully said that you have an estate and it's a good bet that you would benefit from creating a personalized estate plan. But it may be an equally good bet that you don't have one in place.
People give many reasons why they have never addressed the issue of estate planning. Their belief that no estate exists is probably the most common. But as we have already observed, in nearly every case, that's a mistaken notion. According to a report on one recent survey, the biggest reason people gave for not having a plan is that they just haven't gotten around to it.
However, attorneys with estate planning experience appreciate that a big reason why an estimated 60 percent of Americans don't have a plan in place is probably that it requires thinking about dying. Death may be one of only two certainties in life (the other being taxes), but it's often the last thing anyone wants to think or talk about.
Talking about death can be uncomfortable, but going through the process of estate planning has a number of clear benefits.
- It ensures the quickest possible transfer of property to your loved ones.
- With careful planning, you can minimize potential tax obligations.
- It can allow you to convey your wishes about your health care in the event you become unable to for some reason.
There are many planning tools available, but selecting the right one and making sure each is legally enforceable can be complicated, so seeking help is always wise.