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Where There's a Will, There's a Way

Celebrate Estate Planning Awareness Week by planning for your future.

You may be thinking that you don't need an estate plan, but we have millions of years' worth of history to prove that whether you are a mammal, reptile, insect, or plant, we are not immortal 

Have you thought about what will happen to your habitat, hoard, or herd after you're gone? You can't be sure without a Will or another form of estate plan properly in place. Did you know that 67% of Americans don't have an estate plan? That's over 173 million adults who won't have a say in what happens to their assets. Here are five benefits of having a Will. 

1. Leave a legacy of generosity.

In our humble opinion, one of the best reasons to set up your estate plan is to honor your favorite nonprofits or charitable organizations, like The Nat! You can leave a set amount or percentage of your estate to a registered 501c3 organization and receive a tax benefit on your estate. Bonus perks are that many organizations, including The Nat, will honor your future gift now with special perks. If you have already included The Nat in your estate plans or are interested in doing so, please let us know so we can welcome you into the Live Oaks Society!     

2. Make your wishes known

There can be no speculation about your wishes if you properly document them. Your will breaks down who gets what, and you should consider making one even if you don't think you have many assets. Is your car paid off? Do you own your home? Do you have a dependent or a beloved pet? Your choices still matter after you're gone. You can also include your funeral plans and state what you want to happen with your remains 

3. It's faster and easier for beneficiaries

What happens if you die without an estate plan? The court gets involved, and your estate will end up in probate. In California, passing away without an estate plan is considered "dying intestate," a probate judge will distribute your assets to your closest family members—as defined by the probate code, which may not reflect your wishes—and the entire process could take months or even years. An estate plan lets you decide who gets what, and your clear intentions can be easily seen.  

4. You get to decide who is in charge.

We all have that one friend/sibling/child/spouse who is always calm under pressure, makes color-coded lists, and generally seems to have things together. Did someone just come to mind when you read that? When you set up your estate plan, you get to pick an executor or a person who will oversee everything that comes after you go. Not only does a Will give you the power to select the best person for this important job, but it also gives them a roadmap to follow while distributing assets on your behalf

5. One less thing for your loved ones to worry about

Look, a lot will be happening after you shuffle off into eternity, and having your siblings or children fight over who gets to keep your dog will not help anyone. Everyone in your life will thank you for having your affairs in order and give them more time to focus on all their favorite memories with you instead of worrying about who is going to call to cancel your phone plan

A traditional Will may not be the right estate plan choice for everyone. We are a group of scientists, geeks, and nature enthusiasts—not lawyers. While we can direct you towards some great resources, we cannot give you legal advice. That's what the experts are for. Please always consult an estate planning professional when it comes to your future planning. 

Posted by The Nat.

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