What is Estate Planning and How Can it Build a Better Future For My Family?
Many people believe that estate planning is only for the ultra-wealthy and that most people don’t need a will or trust. While this view may be common, nothing could be further from the truth.
Proper estate planning can help people across any wealth bracket achieve a number of goals:
- Parents may want to designate a guardian for their children.
- Homeowners may seek to ensure that their homes are properly transferred to their beneficiaries in the event of death.
- Business owners may want to keep ownership within the family as one generation paves the way for the next.
Only about half of Americans have an estate plan in place, meaning that many people are not properly protecting themselves or their families.
What is Estate Planning?
Simply put, estate planning is the process of making the legal arrangements necessary to protect your family, plan for your health and personal care, and manage or transfer assets in the event of your incapacity or death.
Any assets owned or controlled by a decedent (a deceased person) and any debts that were the responsibility of the decedent at the time of deceased’s death are included in an estate plan. In order to meet a person’s goals with respect to preparing for incapacity and death, numerous factors will need to be taken into consideration including overall financial situation, applicable estate law, insurance, investments, and any tax implications A person’s estate plan is as unique as the individual.
What Type of Estate Planning Do I Need?
Estate planning is tailored to the circumstances of each individual’s situation. Usually, estate planning includes: creation of a will; limiting estate taxes, if necessary, by establishing a trust; appointing a guardian for dependent or minor children; appointing an executor of the estate to oversee the terms of the will; making funeral arrangements; and/or establishment of annual gifting to reduce the taxable estate.
You have spent years creating financial and emotional security for yourself and your family; now is not the time to lose sight of it. With a thoughtful estate plan, you can:
- Safeguard your assets from being whittled away by nursing home expenses, unnecessary taxes, and probate fees;
- Ensure that someone you trust can handle your affairs if you become disabled;
- Keep the court out of your medical decisions and help maintain your independence;
- Bring you peace of mind that your assets end up with the heirs and beneficiaries that you choose, and not in the wrong hands.
Estate planning is about more than just planning for death; it is about planning for whatever life throws your way. Most people procrastinate estate planning because, let’s be honest, thinking about who gets your vintage record collection when die, or who will make health care decisions for you if you become disabled are topics that most people would rather ignore. But if you’re reading this, you are more than likely ready to take the first step to ensure that your legacy is protected.
Let Us Help You Protect Your Family and Your Legacy
Let the friendly and knowledgeable staff at Eldredge and Davis walk you through the estate planning process step by step. With years of experience in wills, trusts, and estate law, our office is here to not only customize an estate plan that meets your goals, but to bring you the peace of mind that you and your family deserve.