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Key Reasons Not to Delay Estate Planning

People typically do not want to think about getting older or the unfortunate fact that one day they will pass away. As such, many people put off developing an estate plan, thinking they have time to develop a plan in the future. There are key reasons not to delay estate planning, though, and when people ignore such reasons, it may lead to unfortunate consequences in the future. If you do not have an estate plan, it is in your best interest to talk to a knowledgeable estate planning attorney about your estate planning needs as soon as possible.

Key Reasons Not to Delay Estate Planning

• Your Estate May Not Be Distributed in Accordance With Your Wishes

The most obvious risk of delaying estate planning is dying intestate, or without a will. Wills are the most employed estate planning tool, and most people use them to dictate how their assets should be divided in the event of their death. Wills can also be used to determine other issues, like who should care for minor children. Absent a will, a person’s estate will be distributed as dictated by Washington’s intestacy laws, which broadly speaking means their assets will be divided among their closest relatives. The intestacy laws do not provide for friends, step-children, or life partners who have not formalized their relationships, however, or discount relatives with whom the deceased person did not get along with.

• Your Health and Finances May Suffer

People that delay estate planning also run the risk of placing their health and finances in jeopardy. One of the many benefits of estate planning is that Washington law allows people to grant power of attorney rights to another individual, which allows them to make key decisions regarding their health care and finances if they become mentally or physically incapacitated and can no longer make such decisions themselves. Absent such designations, a person’s next of kin will often be tasked with making such decisions, which may not be what the person would want. Additionally, when family members lack the clarity that estate plans provide on such issues, it can lead to contentious battles.

• Your Loved Ones May Face Unnecessary Tax Consequences

Some estate planning tools, like trusts, allow people with substantial assets to prevent their loved ones from having to pay significant estate taxes after they die. By failing to take advantage of these tools, people may unwittingly increase the tax consequences their estates will face after their death. Trusts can also help people who care for children or loved ones with disabilities ensure that they will be taken care of in the years to come.

Meet with a Knowledgeable Estate Planning Lawyer Today

While people may be apprehensive about estate planning, they usually feel relief once the process is complete. Many people, unfortunately, put off estate planning until it is too late, though, leaving their loved ones to suffer the ramifications of their procrastination. If you need assistance developing an estate plan, you should meet with a knowledgeable estate planning lawyer today to discuss what steps you can take to protect your rights and assets. Call Gregorek & Associates at 425-284-3450 or fill out our contact form and we will be in touch to schedule a meeting.

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