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  • Ashley Gantt

Why to plan for your estate?

In elementary school, we learned about the 5 W's we use to gather information to make a decision: who, what, where, when, and why. Last week, we discussed the "what" regarding estate planning using P.LS: Peace. Legacy. Smart. This week we will tackle the why, asking the question, "Why to plan for your estate?" Each person has reasons to make sure their family and the State know how they want their assets distributed. Today we discuss a few universal reasons to answer why to plan for your estate. The three-word phrase we suggest you remember is "S.W.P." (pronounced like sweep) to answer the why, which means Secure. Wealth. Power.

You are creating your legacy by sharing your gifts, talents, and skills with the world throughout your life. So, it is logical for you to secure your hard work to ensure your loved ones are cared for after you're gone. I'd like you to take a few seconds and ask yourself, who do I want to know that I love them even when I'm no longer with them? The names that come to your mind answer why you need to secure your legacy with an estate plan.

Another reason why to plan your estate is to create generational wealth. We've all seen the stories of a wealthy person passing away without an estate plan, and it leaves us, the onlookers, puzzled and asking why they did not have a plan. Why are we puzzled? It's because we all know that we want to create a better life for our future generations, and passing on the wealth you've amassed in your estate plan is the best way to do it. Generational wealth is passed down through strategic, intentional, and well-thought-out plans. That's why it is imperative to create your plan to secure your legacy.

Lastly, although we are guaranteed unpredictability in life, planning gives us a semblance of power in the vast continuum of time and space. One of my mentors, Jorja Williams, Esq., often says if you do not have a plan for your estate, the State does. She is absolutely correct. Failing to plan does not mean that your estate will not be disposed of after you're gone. It means that you will not have any power over how and neither will your family. When a person passes away without an estate plan, their estate is called an intestate estate, which means that Florida State statutes and the probate rules govern how your legacy is disposed of through probate. Having an estate plan gives you the power to create the legacy you want by having the last word effectuated through an estate plan.

Thinking about your "why" lays a solid foundation for answering the "who" and "when" questions next week. Leave a comment below and tell us the answer to your why.

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