When it comes to protecting your personal and business assets for the benefit of loved ones after you’re gone, it’s never too soon to start.
Estate planning can be a complex process for individuals who don’t have the resources they need to make the best decisions. Working with a skilled estate planning attorney is the best way to create an estate plan that meets all of your family’s needs.
More importantly, an estate plan makes your wishes known to family members, preventing the disputes and confusion that lead to costly issues for them to sort out.
Estate Planning Goals
An estate consists of your personal possessions and finances. This includes real estate property, automobiles, investment assets, bank accounts, and life insurance among many others.
How these assets are managed during and after your lifetime is the most important goal of estate planning. Your estate plan lets you make your wishes known to family members and other beneficiaries.
It specifies who’ll receive your assets and the manner in which they receive them. It can also reduce any unwanted costs related to legal fees and taxes.
Your estate plan can include instructions related to your long-term care should you become incapacitated.
Guardianship for minor children and meeting the special needs of loved ones can also be addressed through your estate plan.
Issues related to life insurance, the transfer of a business, and others are all part of the estate planning process. Your attorney can help you create the right plan for your unique needs and goals.
Begin With a Will
A will is an effective tool for planning the future of your estate. Your family law attorney can easily help you draft the right will for your needs. But wills can be limited, as they are only put into effect after the time of death.
Wills are effective for making your wishes known and ensuring that assets are distributed according to those wishes and that all medical and healthcare needs are met.
A living will can be used to manage these aspects while during your lifetime. This makes it easy for family members to carry out your decisions related to how you’ll be cared for when you become incapacitated.
But a will requires assets to go through the probate process in order for them to be distributed to loved ones.
Probate can take time and be costly. As a result, it can negatively impact the speed at which your beneficiaries receive distributions and the overall value of the estate.
Other Estate Planning Strategies that Make Your Wishes Known to Family
Wills can be used to transfer assets such as life insurance and retirement accounts. But other assets may need to be placed in a trust in order for them to be distributed to loved ones.
More importantly, a trust can provide unique benefits that aren’t available with wills. A revocable trust can protect assets from the probate process while helping beneficiaries receive assets.
Assets in a trust are protected from the control of the courts. It keeps your estate private and ensures that all assets are secure in one place. Best of all, a revocable trust can be modified at any time.
Assets can remain in your trust after the time of death. They are overseen by a trustee and distributed at a later date and in any manner you choose. The trustee can protect assets from creditors, beneficiaries, and any risks related to their distribution.
Consulting with an expert estate planning professional is the best way to navigate the complex estate planning process.
Your attorney can take your unique needs and goals into consideration while helping you determine the right strategies.
Making your wishes known to family members is a critical part of estate planning. You’ll make sure that beneficiaries receive their rightful assets while protecting the value of your estate and passing it on for the benefit of your loved ones.