You Can't Take It With You
When estate planning is mentioned, most people think of wills and probate. These are critical components of estate planning, but updating your estate plan doesn't end there.
Just as you would not want to be stranded on a desert island without a map or some form of transportation, you don't want to find yourself at the end of life's journey without some sort of estate plan. When estate planning is done well, it takes into consideration what you want for your loved ones when you pass away and how you want them to get the money they need while you're alive.
If someone unexpectedly passed away tomorrow with no estate plan in place then all their assets that required transfer upon death would go through probate before being distributed to heirs. The estate would not only have to pay estate taxes, but all the time and effort involved with transferring assets from one person to another could be costly.
Not everyone has millions of dollars in estate assets, so estate planning may seem like a waste of money or it may seem too late for you since you've already lived a good portion of your life without it. No matter how much or little estate property you have, estate planning can help by making sure that your property is distributed according to your wishes while avoiding extra costs that come with transfer at death.
Whether you're just starting out in life or winding down at retirement, estate planning can make a significant difference in how you live and leave the world around you.