Estate Planning is planning for the future today. It is your ability to take control of future decisions and empower others to assist you with them. It is the ability to choose who will receive your assets when you are no longer around. It is your way to safeguard and plan for your loved ones ahead of time. Everyone needs a plan this is your chance to create yours!
In simple language, Estate planning is all about making plans for unforeseen circumstances during life and the transfer of your estate/property/money after your death. You must know that your estate doesn’t just include real estate, it also includes everything you have amassed during life. It can include cash, furniture, clothes, jewelry, investments in bonds, shares in stocks and even pets.
Estate Planning Goals
- The first goal of Estate Planning is to cover you during life and the potential unforeseen circumstances such as illness and dementia,
- The second goal is to assign Guardians for your minor children,
- The third goal of Estate Planning is to cover the transferring of your estate to your beneficiaries,
- The fourth goal is to create a layer of asset protection and to implement tax mitigation strategies.
Estate planning is about making a set of legal documents to cover your wishes during life and after death. A good estate plan may also include insurance policy’s such as life insurance. Life insure can help with instant liquidity for your loved ones to assist with funeral expenses and some costs of life when you are no longer around.
Estate Planning FAQ
Why do I need an Estate Plan?
An estate plan is important for every individual who owns any type of property, asset, has minor children, wishes to empower someone to make healthcare or financial decisions in the event they are unable to do it for themselves or simply enjoys having the choice of who inherits their belongings. Estate planning is also important for professionals in high risk professions such as doctors. Planning for your family creates a layer of asset protection and can help in the event of a frivolous lawsuit.
Is Estate Planning only for the wealthy?
No! Estate planning is important for everyone and anyone. A very big misconception is that only the rich or wealthy need estate planning. Do you have minor children? If something was to happen to you and your spouse who will take care of them? Are you single, divorced or widowed? If you fall sick and end up in the hospital who will be able to make any medical decisions if your unable to make them for yourself? Do you have furniture, jewelry, a baseball card collection or any sentimental artifacts that you wish to leave to someone specific? If yes, then you need estate planning!
Why Estate Planning is Important to me?
It is important because it gives you the freedom to pick what you want to do with your asset/estate when you will be gone. It is also important if you don’t want to put your families and loved ones’ security at risk after your death. For example, do you have adult children from a previous marriage that you love and care for? Can you imagine that without proper estate planning they may stand to inherit very little or perhaps nothing?
What if I don’t plan my Estate?
If you don’t have proper estate planning, then your family will be subject to an administrative proceeding after your death. Each state has a set of intestacy laws and your estate will be subject to them. This is a timely and costly process and the results may not be the same as your wishes. Under such laws the state will determine who gets what based on their relationship to you.
When is the best time to plan your estate?
Right now! What are you waiting for? Estate planning is very important, and no one can predict when it will come into play. If the concept of planning for minor children, yourself, or for your family in the event of death is not enough, then remember the costs associated with not planning are greater then those with planning. The current gift tax exemption is at an all time high and will be grandfather for those who plan now. If you suffer from dementia without a power of attorney your family will have to file for legal guardianship in order to access your finances or make decisions on your behalf, this can take 6-24 months and is costly. The cost of probate and time associated with it is the same if not greater then that of creating a Will/Trust. Planning works best when done early on!
To sum it up, estate planning is for all and it is never to early to start planning. Our experienced lawyers are here to help and offer free consultations. Everyone is different, people’s assets, age, plans, and wishes tend to differ.