Must I have ‘Prince’-like Riches to Need a Will?
The Tribune-Democrat asked in a recent article, entitled “You Don’t Need a Prince-ly Fortune to Need a Will,” the following question: “Why would an artist who was so careful and controlling of his image and work not plan ahead to protect it?”
Alas, it is likely Prince was like the rest of us.
He was not very keen on considering a future beyond his own lifetime.
But this isn’t the only reason folks avoid estate planning. In addition to busy lives and plain-old procrastination, another common notion of more than 50% of all Americans who do not have a will is that they don’t need one. Most of us do not have millions of dollars or complex business interests like Prince, so we think estate planning is a bit much for our comparatively simple financial situations.
That is not smart thinking.
If you’re married, have children, or own property, a will drafted by an experienced estate planning attorney lets you decide how your assets will be distributed in the future. What is more, a very good plan will protect your assets even in this life. Yes, it’s one thing to have your assets frittered away after your death due to poor planning. It is even worse to have your assets lost to the nursing home or due to lawsuits while you are alive.
If we’ve learned anything from the uncertainty of the past year, it’s that you can’t predict the future. But you can prepare for it.
Proper estate planning ensures that people and charities you support now will be supported even after you are gone, in the most tax-efficient way, while avoiding family strife.
Planning ahead can also address any number of possibilities that need careful consideration, like custody of your minor children and whether you would like to remain on life support.
If you die without a will or “intestate,” Louisiana law and the probate court determine how any of your assets subject to probate will be distributed.
Estate planning may take some effort and some time, but when you’re done, you’re going to feel so good that you’ll want to party like it’s 1999!
Reference: The (Johnstown, PA) Tribune-Democrat (April 17, 2021) “You Don’t Need a Prince-ly Fortune to Need a Will”