In ancient Egypt, rulers were traditionally buried along with all of their worldly treasure in the belief that this allowed them to take their wealth into the next world. Legend holds that the tombs were sealed with a curse to deter grave robbers.
There is evidence that the curse wasn’t entirely toothless: two months after Henry Carver and George Herbert opened King Tut’s tomb, Herbert died suddenly of an infected mosquito bite, making him just one of the people involved with the discovery who suffered a mysterious and untimely demise.
Today, both asset-protection curses and transporting your wealth into the afterlife have fallen out of fashion. Instead, contemporary preparations for the next life involve partnering with an estate planning attorney to clarify your priorities and develop a plan tailored to your situation.
In honor of the Halloween season, here are five reasons that you need an estate plan, as well as some of the ghoulish, ghastly consequences that can ensue if you neglect this critical step in planning for your future.
The Spookiest Tax of All
Depending on the size of your estate, the estate tax can run up to 40%. Yikes! There’s a reason people look for ways to reduce the portion of their estate that is subject to the tax. An estate-planning attorney can help you set up a trust and talk you through the options available. If there is a blue sweep in November, this may affect more people!
Caring for the Manor
Estate planning can also help with asset protection, which acts as a safety net, keeping somebody who wins a lawsuit against you from having access to the protected portion of your estate. Asset protection can help secure your family residence against accident victims or creditors, and certain types of trust can offer liability protections as well.
The Little Shop of Horrors
Succession planning can play an important part in the long term viability of your business, and estate planning offers an opportunity for you to begin evaluating what should happen with the business when you retire. An estate planning attorney can help guide the decision-making process.
Probate is the process of validating a will, valuing assets, paying down debts and taxes, and distributing the remainder of the estate to beneficiaries. Probate takes time and costs money, and beneficiaries can’t receive any proceeds from an estate until the process has concluded—this can take months, or sometimes even years.
Additionally, probate proceedings are a matter of public record. For some, keeping finances private is an additional incentive to avoid probate.
Estate planning also allows you to set up a plan for your beneficiaries. In the case of a minor beneficiary, estate planning allows you to designate a conservator to oversee the minor’s finances. It can also allow you to protect an adult beneficiary from bad financial decisions, outside pressures, or losing money in divorce proceedings.
Of course, one of the most important parts of planning for your future is making sure that your wishes are fulfilled, even if you aren’t around to oversee the process yourself.
Estate planning involves granting power of attorney to an individual who can handle your finances should you become incapacitated. This process should also involve giving somebody a healthcare power of attorney. This person will be authorized to make healthcare decisions on your behalf—which guarantees that you are given the type of care you want.
Did we scare you? Scattered leaves, temperamental wind, and tiny ghosts and goblins rampaging through the streets—October truly is the spookiest of months.
If this alone doesn’t give you the chills, there’s always the hard stuff: you can rewatch The Exorcist, tune in to a spooky podcast, or curl up with a mug of cider and some vintage Edgar Allen Poe.
The one thing we don’t recommend doing to get your seasonal thrills, however, is the scariest option of all: neglecting estate planning. Failing to plan for your estate can cause hard-won assets to be forfeited instead of passed down to your inheritors, and it can add needless stress to what is already a challenging time for friends and family.
To learn more about estate planning, contact us to schedule a consultation. Our experienced Texas estate planning attorneys can guide you through the process.