Many people associate estate planning with the ultra-wealthy or the elderly, but the truth is that anyone, regardless of their financial status or their family dynamics, can benefit from a thorough estate plan. That said, only 42% of American adults have estate planning documents, such as a will or living trust. If you are like the remaining 58% of Americans, you should remedy that by discussing your wishes with an Illinois wealth advisor or attorney. Forbes details a few reasons you should act now.

One of the best reasons to have an estate plan is to plan for your own future needs. Should you become incapacitated or otherwise unable to make decisions for yourself, your estate plan can appoint both a health care and financial proxy to act on your behalf. It can also protect your assets and ensure that your needs and wishes are met even if you are unable to voice them yourself.

An estate plan can also help to ensure that your wealth is disposed of in the manner you wish. Without such a document, the state of Illinois will distribute your assets according to intestate succession laws, which may go against your preferences.

Thorough documentation can also help to protect your wealth. As individuals accumulate wealth, they often find that they are more susceptible to frivolous lawsuits. By removing your name from your assets and placing them in a trust, you can prevent them from becoming part of a judgment.

If you wish to transfer or gift a substantial amount of money to certain loved ones, develop an estate plan that minimizes transfer taxes. The IRS allows individuals to transfer only so much before taxing the money, but a thorough estate plan can allow you to transfer funds in the most tax-efficient way possible.

This article is not meant to serve as legal advice. It is for educational purposes only.