Estate Planning is the process whereby a person develops a plan and prepares documents to conserve, protect, and distribute estate assets before and after death for the benefit of loved ones and charities. It can also involve planning for the use of your assets for your care if you become unable to manage your affairs during your lifetime.
If you own a home, have some savings, or own any goods such as a car or furniture, then you have an estate. Planning for the future will affect the financial security of those you love. If such plans are not made by you, then the government will make those decisions for you.
You should have an estate plan if:
- you care about who inherits your property;
- you care about your health care treatment;
- you are the parent of minor or disabled children; and/or
- you want to avoid the public proceedings of a possible guardianship and/or probate.
What If You Don’t Have A Will or Estate Plan?
If you die in testate, there are laws of “in testate succession” which govern the distribution of your estate. In most states, this means that if you do not have an estate plan your assets will be distributed to your spouse and children, or if none, to other members of your family.
Even if you are young and have few assets, and thus have no real need for a detailed estate plan, it is wise to have a will. This becomes even truer if you marry, or have children. Please note that depending upon the laws of the jurisdiction where you live, your will may become fully or partially invalid upon certain major life events such as divorce or the birth of a child.
Also, most estate plans now include power of attorney forms, which provide for people to attend to your financial and medical needs in the event that you become incapacitated. If you do not execute powers of attorney prior to becoming disabled by accident or illness, it may be necessary for your loved ones to go to court to get permission to manage your finances and health care.
Many people avoid proper estate planning because they do not like thinking about death. Estate Planning is generally considered the process by which people develop a plan that ensures that the assets they have worked so hard accumulating during their lifetime are protected and distributed to those they love. Without proper estate planning, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) stands to inherit a large portion of your assets. Fortunately, it’s not too late to write the IRS out of your will. We can help you implement a variety of advanced tax strategies to keep your assets out of the hands of the IRS. Our firm handles a variety of estate planning matters and advises our clients so as to gain the maximum benefit of all laws while, at the same time, carrying out the person’s wishes.
Estate planning professionals who are familiar with your estate can help you fashion an estate plan which works to affect your wishes and goals.
DISCLAIMER: This site and any information contained herein is intended for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. Seek competent legal counsel for advice on any legal matter.
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