During these crazy tumultuous times, estate planning has become a hot topic. However, one question that keeps coming up is whether or not estate planning is truly essential. Many people believe that state law will protect their families when they pass or that they do not have enough to justify an estate plan, so they ask, “Is an estate plan really essential?” Yes!
Incapacity without an estate plan
Take the scenario of one without an estate plan. Imagine being in a car accident that renders one unconscious, laying in a hospital bed. What happens? The hospital’s ethics committee is then empowered to decide that person’s fate. This includes whether to provide life-saving measures and whether to keep that person on life support. They make these decisions without knowing the person or their wishes. Their decisions could take away that person’s ability to travel, live independently, golf or any other life function.
Incapacity with an estate plan
Now, another patient, just down the hall is similarly lying unconscious. They had a stroke and are unable to communication, chew, swallow or perform any basic life function. However, this person had an estate plane with a health care advance directive, which outlined the person’s medical wishes, should they become incapacitated. This patient’s wishes are done according to that health care advance directive.
Funerals without an estate plan
Without an estate plan, one’s wishes will not be known to those that survive. And, even if one does not care what happens to their body, we still care about how our death will affect our loved ones. Without an estate plan, one’s loved ones will have to figure out how to pay for that funeral and burial, in addition to actually planning it. This is a huge burden to take on after the death of a loved one.
What happens to stuff after death?
Let’s say one dies. What happens? Everyone has stuff, even if it is only $10 in a checking account and a few pieces of furniture. And, if one has a family, it is likely at least one item will mean something to another. However, if one dies without an estate plan, the family members left behind will have to go through the probate court process to get access to everything. This could mean going into debt over that $10 and few pieces of furniture.
There is nothing in life that is guaranteed except death and taxes. This is why it is so important to begin estate planning now with a Beaumont, Texas, attorney one trusts.