Americans need to have comprehensive estate plans, because those plans help protect them, their assets and their beneficiaries. Comprehensive estate plans aren’t simply wills or wills and a simple health care power of attorney. These plans are much more extensive and include methods of protecting your assets and passing on your estate to your loved ones with minimal taxation. They also help you prepare to qualify for Medicaid and help you plan for long-term care needs.
In 2017, AARP found that around six in 10 adults did not even have a basic will in the United States. In another study, it found that around 81% of those over the age of 72 did have, at the very least, a will.
Estate planning is essential, but many people don’t do it. Why? It may come down to age. As people get older, they start to realize the importance of estate planning. The top two reasons for failing to complete estate planning, according to AARP, were:
- “Not getting around to it,” at a rate of 47%
- “Not having enough assets to leave to anyone,” at a rate of 29%
Even if you feel this way about your estate, planning to leave assets behind isn’t the only reason to build a comprehensive estate plan.
Estate planning protects you in life and assists after death
Estate planning can help you during your lifetime. It may help you set aside assets and minimize what you hold in your estate, so there’s a lower risk of taxation or having to spend down assets before seeking Medicaid.
Estate planning allows you to choose who you want to have provide for you if you can’t take care of yourself and the opportunity to give guidance on long-term care, your preferences for end-of-life care and your wishes if you need a financial guardian.
While estate planning may seem like something that is for the elderly and those who are approaching the end of their lives, it can help sooner. If you haven’t started estate planning yet, it may be time to start doing so to protect yourself and prepare for the future.