Do I need an Estate Plan?
As a property owner, the question that constantly rings in one’s mind is, Do I need an estate plan? Well, the answer to this question is Yes, definitely. An estate plan is one of the most important things that every person who owns any property, whether in small or large scale, must have. An estate plan is simply the process of organizing one’s affairs in advance in relation to the smooth transfer of one’s estate after their death. It involves creating a detailed and flexible plan that will be used to transfer your assets to the beneficiaries of your choice.
Estate planning is done using one or more of the legal tools and entities provided for by the law such as; a will, trust, power of attorney, power of appointment, health care surrogacy, property ownership rights, business successions among others. Although these are some of the best tools to use for estate planning, they are no good without the involvement of an experienced estate planning attorney when creating the plan. The combination of such tools with the services of a lawyer will guarantee you that the plan will be well structured plus, it will be one hundred percent efficient and effective when the time comes for its use.
Yes, and here’s why.
The question ‘Do I need an estate plan?’ is best answered by the very many benefits that can be accrued from having a well-structured estate plan in place in advance. The greatest advantage of such an arrangement is that it ensures that all your beneficiaries, family, and children are catered for financially in the event of your death. This is made possible by wills, and trusts which give you a choice while you are still alive to decide who, when and how your assets will be distributed after your death. Health surrogacies and powers of attorney will help you make the best choices regarding your health care in case of incapacitation and also regarding the care of your minor children.
Huge tax savings is another benefit of having an estate plan in place. It helps to significantly reduce the taxes payments that your beneficiaries will have to pay while administering your estate. An attorney will be in a position to navigate through all the tax issues relating to transfer of property. This also comes hand in hand with relieving your family or beneficiaries from a lot of bureaucracy and court expenses that come with one dying intestate and assets going into probate. Interstate and probate are the states where property left behind by a deceased person is administered by the court because they did not have an estate plan by the time they died. This is a very complicated, time-consuming and expensive process that you shouldn’t put your beneficiaries through.
But wait, there’s more.
A proper estate plan will also help shield your estate from lawsuits and other claims that might arise such as claim from creditors, tax organizations, divorced spouses, or in-laws. This guarantees the security and protection of your property by the law. Estate plans also create privacy when it comes to administration of a deceased’s estate. This is a fact that is valued by many people because it avoids probate courts and public interference. A Trust is very effective in keeping things private and civil.
An estate plan will allow you to name an executor or an executrix of the plan. This is a person whom you trust to distribute your property as state by the will after you pass away. You’ll be able to mention a primary executor plus several secondary ones whom you can change at any point in time. An executor of an estate plan can be an attorney, spouse, child or a family member that you trust.
Estate planning provides short-term and long-term plans for incapacitation or incompetency. This is made possible by the use of powers of attorney and medical surrogacies. In the event that you become incapacitated by being hospitalized, a medical surrogate will be used to determine who you would like to take over your medical and financial decisions. The same applies for power of attorney, which is used mainly to determine how your estate is handled if you become incompetent, disabled, or not in a position to make critical decisions. These plans stipulate the extent to which the executor or trustee can and the conditions for its execution.
When it comes to distribution of property to beneficiaries an estate plan can be used to create restrictions and incentives for your successors. This has to do with timing and level of access to the assets. It helps to specify this especially when it comes to minors so as to ensure disciplined use of the inheritance. It also helps a lot in the transfer of trust funds and business interests.
Don’t burden the family.
Most people nowadays fail to plan their estates because they don’t believe that it is necessary to have a plan in place. Most of them leave up the task of distributing their wealth to their family, failing to realize that if they die without an estate plan, they die intestate, and the law will determine what will happen to their assets. The result of this may be something they would not have liked, or it may lead to disagreements, high estate taxes and prolonged court cases that tie up the property. It is, therefore, paramount that you have an estate plan in place to protect you and your family’s interests.
Gain peace of mind.
With the use of the above estate planning methods, you’ll be able to gain peace of mind and confidence that your administration of your estate after you pass away will be done strictly according to your wishes. However, this cannot be achieved without the involvement of a trained and vastly experienced estate planning attorney to guide you step by step through the whole process keeping all your interests at heart.
All the benefits that we’ve seen can come from creating a well-structured estate plan proves that you do need an estate plan ASAP if you don’t have one. The easiest way to do this is to pick up the phone and talk to an estate planning lawyer, and you’ll be on your way to having the best plan.
Let the professionals at The Law Offices of Bj Richardson help you find the professional attorney to help you with your specific needs. We don’t handle every aspect of tax law, however , we can direct you to a professional that can handle any area of tax law that we don’t handle.
Call today for your free 30 minute consultation. 417-234-1874