Sep 25, 2023
As an auction company, we think we have a unique perspective on the importance of estate planning. We work directly with estate executors, personal representatives, attorneys, and family members. We see first hand how the pressure and emotion of settling an estate can affect each of these groups. This is only made more difficult when these parties do not have an estate plan to follow. Over our 40 year history of specializing in estate auctions, one thing has become clear: there is a markable difference between an estate scenario with a well established plan and an estate scenario without a plan. As a family based company, the negative impact that an ill planned estate has on the families we work for is not something we enjoy seeing. Our hope is that this blog post will provide some insight into the importance of an established estate plan.
The Real Importance of Estate Planning: Family Preservation
Many people likely think of estate planning as a tool to effectively preserve their wealth and maximize tax efficiency. These are incredible benefits of estate planning and we will discuss them in this article, but the true value of estate planning lies in the positive impact that it can have on your loved ones. Estate planning provides a road map that can significantly lower the chances of family disputes.
Avoiding Family Conflict:
Estate planning helps avoid family feuds through clear instructions for asset distribution. Obviously, this can still lead to conflict, however in our experience the uncertainty and claims of word of mouth promises are the source of many issues.
Guardianship for Minor Children:
If you have minor children, this is arguably the most impactful part of your estate plan. This ensures that in the event of your untimely death, your children will be taken care of by your appointed guardian(s).
The creation of directives such as a living will and medical power of attorney can alleviate a lot of stress for your family members. These clearly outline your preferences for medical treatment and who you would like to make decisions on your behalf. From an auction companies perspective, the absence of an established medical power of attorney often causes problems for families.
Wealth Preservation and Tax Efficiency
Strategies to Minimize Estate Taxes:
As Benjamin Franklin said “nothing is certain except death and taxes”. Estate plans provide the ability to implement effective strategies to ensure that more of your money passes directly to your heirs.
Efficient Asset Distribution:
An estate plan provides clear instructions for asset distribution, this can help with avoiding the time consuming and costly process of probating the estate.
Intelligent Wealth Transfer:
Estate planning can be an incredible tool for most efficiently transferring assets to the next generation through the use of trusts and gifting.
Find a Reputable Estate Planning Attorney:
An estate planning attorney will be your biggest ally in this process. Find an attorney in your community that works well for you, ask your friends for recommendations. If you are in the Charleston, SC area, we would be happy to refer you to a number of great attorneys in our area.
Continue to Update Your Plan:
One of our favorite sayings in the auction industry is “Situations Change”, this is true for most things in life. Once you have an established plan, continue to update it and change it to best suit the changes in your life.
Communicate with Your Loved Ones:
It is important to keep your family members in the know, this can save conflict and misunderstandings down the road.
If you take anything from this blog post, take the fact that estate planning is one of the most important things you can do for your family. The incredible tools available for financial preservation and tax efficiency can not be overlooked. An estate plan can give you peace of mind that you have done everything in your power to preserve the most important things you have built: your family and your legacy.
Auctioneer, Pearce & Associates
Pearce & Associates Auction Company is a family based company founded in Birmingham, AL nearly 40 years ago. We opened an office in Charleston, SC in 2019. Our firm specializes in online auctions of estates, business liquidations, collector cars, and real estate. We are a part of MarkNet Alliance, ones of the nations largest auction groups. If you are interested in our services, or know of someone that could use our services, please reach out to us at [email protected] or 843-860-7141.