If you’re like most individuals, you already know that estate planning is a good idea, but you might have put it off for one reason or another. There are five primary things that you can hope to accomplish in the estate planning process.
Leaving Behind Property
You might use a living trust, simple will or both if you do not have substantial wealth. You can also use other methods of passing on property such as beneficiary designations, transfer on death accounts or co-ownership. If you have a large estate, you may use ongoing trusts to pass on property.
Providing for Young Children
You will want to ensure that your young children will want to be cared for if you pass away before they become adults. You can name guardians in your will as well as managers to look after their inheritance.
Planning for Incapacity
One of the most important and overlooked aspects of estate planning is what would happen if you ever became unable to make financial and medical decisions for yourself. You can use a healthcare directive to name an individual who is able to make medical decisions on your behalf.
One of the most common reasons to schedule a consultation with an experienced estate planning lawyer is avoiding probate. Probate is the court managed process for wrapping up an estate, but it can be expensive, long and complicated for heirs to sort out. A little planning makes probate fairly easy to avoid using joint tenancy, pay on death accounts and trusts.
While many people will not owe federal estate tax, you may want to use your estate plan to reduce the taxes that could be owed after you pass away.
Make sure that you consult with an attorney who is thoroughly experienced in the process of establishing estate planning tools and strategies for your best interests.