The musician Prince passed away three years ago, and his estate still isn’t settled because he didn’t have a basic estate plan. Potential heirs continue to fight over his assets.

Singer Aretha Franklin, who died last summer, left her four sons to try to untangle her $80 million estate. They have yet to receive the proceeds.

Their cases are a cautionary tale for more than the rich and famous, though. Everyone should have an estate plan for many reasons, including:

  1. Selecting a guardian for your kids. Neither Prince nor Aretha Franklin left behind minor children, but what if they had? Without an estate plan, and something happened to both you and your children’s other parent, who would raise them? You’ll want to select the person who will become the guardian of your children and not leave it to a court to choose between bickering in-laws.
  2. Estate-tax planning. Even if your income doesn’t reach the $11.2 million threshold for federal taxes to take effect, that number is fluid. Should a new administration be voted into place in 2020, the number could be reduced.
  3. Naming a health-care proxy. Who do you trust to make medical decisions in case you are incapacitated and decisions need to be made about your health care?
  4. Sharing your assets as you see fit. You’ll want to take care of your children, but you might have different priorities among your children. If one, for example, isn’t a good money manager, you can put their share into a trust, leaving a trustee to allocate the funds on a schedule, for example. Or, if one won the lottery and is set for life, you probably won’t leave money to that child.
  5. Dividing your property. While your lottery-winning child might not receive cash from you, there could be personal items that you know that child would want. In your will, you can specify just what property you want to go where. You also can leave instructions for selling your home and dividing the proceeds of the sale.
  6. Choosing an executor to settle your estate. That could be a family member or an impartial party without a stake in your estate.

Don’t wait any longer to create your estate plan. You can’t predict when an accident will occur that will leave you incapacitated – or worse. For more information, please explore our site further.