Estate planning is the process of anticipating and arranging during a person’s life for the management and disposal of that person’s estate after death. There are many reasons why estate planning is beneficial and why everyone should have an estate plan.
The sooner you create an estate plan and protect your family, the better. Here are some reasons why everyone needs an estate plan, no matter what situation they are in:
Leaving Property to Young Children: Have you ever stopped and thought about what would happen if both you and your spouse died suddenly? What would happen to your children? Who will raise the little ones and guide the older ones? Who is going to manage your assets until your children are old enough to do so? What’s going to happen to the possessions you hold dear? All of these questions are valid and yet all of these questions can be answered just by sitting down and planning your estate with a qualified attorney.
Avoid Probate and Taxes: Probate involves inventorying and appraising the property, paying debts and taxes, and distributing the remainder of the property according to the will. When you make a living trust, your surviving family members can transfer your property quickly and easily, without probate. More of the property you leave goes to the people you want to inherit it.
While the estate tax/inheritance tax is less of an issue now because of recent changes (see our recent blog on estate tax), there are still income tax issues that need to be addressed. It is important to work with an attorney who understands these issues so you can deal with them effectively.
Designating a Caregiver: An important decision that estate planning includes is designating a caregiver to physically take care of you, make your health decisions, and manage your property during life when you are unable to do so. Without this, your loved ones will be unable to manage your personal property or control any medical treatment in accordance with your wishes.
If you don’t have an estate plan, it’s time to get it done. Contact one of our estate planning attorneys to help you create, update, or review your estate plan.