Recently, while I was in the waiting room at an auto shop while my car was having an oil change, I noticed another customer reading one of my favorite books.  The book, titled Into Thin Air:  A Personal Account of the Mt Everest Disaster, is written by Jon Krakauer.  This book is a personal account of an ill fated 1996 summit attempt of Mt Everest where eight climbers lost their lives when they became stranded high on the mountain during a storm.  When the woman looked up from reading the book, I stated that I really enjoyed that book and asked her how she was liking the book.  The woman exclaimed, “It’s heart breaking!  I feel like the climbing expeditions’ poor planning led to the deaths, not the weather!”  As I thought about it, I realized she was right.  Both of the well organized expeditions that had climbers die, knew there were fast approaching storm systems, yet failed in their planning to consider the impact that this substantial danger could have.

Similarly, poor planning can cause havoc to one’s estate.  Most individuals are familiar with the concept of a will.  Many have heard of a trust and, at a minimum, understand it is something that helps preserve their estate for their descendants.  While many may lack technical knowledge of how estate planning works, they know it is something they need and should engage in.  So, why do people fail to engage a trust attorney and create a custom estate plan that fits their needs?  There are a multitude of reasons why individuals fail to create an estate plan, but it is important to consider the reasons why one should create an estate plan.  First, it helps avoid probate, which is the court system determining whether a will is valid.  It prevents one from leaving a messy estate for one’s descendants to clean up.  Second, a well drafted estate plan can help avoid taxes and protect your assets from creditors.  Third,  you can leave your estate to your loved ones on your terms, not those of the legal system.

For additional reading:

When is the Right Time to Engage in Estate Planning

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