Estate planning is not just for the ultra-wealthy or retired; it’s a legal action everyone should take because nearly every person has an estate, whether or not they are aware of it.
Estates are comprised of:
- savings accounts;
- checking accounts;
- life insurance;
- family heirlooms; and
- other important personal possessions.
If an estate plan hasn’t been made and a person unexpectedly dies, the state will decide how all the assets are distributed. This could make things complicated if the state splits assets in a way that isn’t entirely beneficial to surviving family members.
For example, a married person with children under the age of 18 dies without an estate plan. The state divides the deceased’s assets among the surviving family in such a way that inhibits the surviving spouse from living comfortably. If the deceased had an estate plan, everything could have been distributed beneficially for all surviving family members.
How to Create an Estate Plan
An estate plan starts with a living trust or will. Both documents allow a person to create a plan and name who they would like to receive specific belongings in the event of death.
A good estate plan should include the following:
- instructions for how a person would like to be cared for if they become disabled;
- name of a guardian and inheritance manager for minor children (under the age of 18);
- instructions on how to provide for family members with special needs (without disrupting government benefits);
- instructions on how to provide for loved ones who might need future protection from creditors;
- life insurance benefits to provide for the family should a person die or become ill and/or injured;
- instructions on how to transfer a business (if the person has one) in the event of retirement, disability, or death;
- minimize taxes, court costs, and legal fees; and
- a plan to review and revise the document as the family and financial situations change over time.
To construct an estate plan, it is best to seek help from an attorney with estate planning experience.
Contact us Today
Our estate planning attorney knows it can be challenging to decide how your assets should be divided. We can help you every step of the way to ensure your plan is carried out exactly to your specifications.