You may have often heard of the importance of estate planning, but have you ever considered what it actually involves? Whether or not you realize it, you have an ‘estate’. Your estate could be property, other assets, or funds. Your estate belongs to you, but what happens if you get sick or pass away? Estate planning allows you to determine and to some extent control what happens to your estate should the inevitable occur. Here we take an in depth look at what estate planning is and why estate planning is important for you and your family’s future.
Summary of Estate Planning
In a nutshell, we can say that estate planning is planning what will happen in the event of your death to assets that you currently have, and assets that you will acquire in the future. Although this definition is quite technical, the reality of estate planning is practical. Estate planning is the process of ensuring your loved ones are taken care of not if, but when you pass away. Planning an estate usually involves writing a will which dictates your preferences and desires for what you would like to happen in the future. An estate plan can also cover what happens in the case you become disabled or incapacitated.
What Can Estate Planning Include?
Estate plans can include so much more than simple instructions about distribution of assets. An estate plan can clarify not only what you want to leave to whom, but when they should receive it. You can also make provisions for organizations that are meaningful to you, as well as individuals.
One of the most important practical advantages of an estate plan that is often overlooked is the ability of a plan to ensure you pay the least amount in legal fees, taxes and court costs on the distribution of your assets.
Effective and thorough estate planning can also include-
- A testament or instruction about passing on values as well as your assets
- A plan regarding your care should you become disabled or incapacitated in the future and unable to look after yourself
- Naming an executor for your will or guardian for young children
- Provision of life insurance to protect your family and their lifestyle in the event of your unexpected death
- Distributing your assets without affecting you or your family’s government benefits If applicable
- Transfer of business management or assets
- Conditions for loved ones who need assistance protecting the assets you leave to them.
How Estate Planning Works
The first step in drafting your estate plan involves meeting with an experienced estate planning attorney. By discussing your needs and goals in regard to estate planning, a professional attorney can advise you on how to best achieve them according to your situation and circumstances. Estate planning is not just a one-off process. Ongoing review and revision is required to keep your estate plan up-to-date and reflective of your current wishes.
How To Start An Estate Plan
It’s never too early or too late to start the process of a state planning. Start today by calling your local estate planning attorney and discussing your options. Plan your estate today to protect you and your family in the future