An estate plan is a collection of documents that state how an individual’s assets are to be distributed just in case. Many people equate the word ‘estate’ to wealth. However, estate planning is for both the filthy rich and the not-so-rich. Regardless of financial status or family background, everyone should consider having an estate plan.
Despite the importance of an estate plan, many people have ignored putting such plans in place. While not many people want to talk about death, it is an eventuality and it is bound to happen. An estate plan will not only protect your wealth after you are gone but also when you are alive and well.
If you have not made such plans, consider the reasons as to why you should talk to Law Office of Paul Black about your wishes sooner rather than later.
- To help you plan for your future
Most people think that an estate plan will get in to play the moment you die. On the contrary, it also works when you are still alive but of unsound mind or incapacitated.
You could start by estimating the amount of money you will require to and beyond retirement, consider the type of insurance you may need in case you no longer have the capabilities of providing for yourself.
You could also appoint a designated person or power of attorney to make crucial decisions on your behalf when worse comes to worst. Additionally, you could discuss these things with your loved ones to make sure your wishes are met if you are unable to speak for yourself eventually.
- To distribute wealth, the way you deem fit
In the event of your death and no documented estate plan was in place, your assets will be distributed by the state you reside in. Having a will or living trust will ensure that you save valuable time and save your family members the frustration of the whole process, as well as make sure your assets are dispersed in the manner you wished.
It is crucial to do routine checks on your estate plan to make sure the beneficiaries are current and that there are no arising legal estate issues.
- To minimize transfer taxes
If you are lucky to have come from a family that has accumulated a good amount of wealth, transferring it to other members of the family can be expensive. Together with your estate planning attorney, you could come up with ways of doing so in the most cost-effective manner.
- To protect family wealth
When you accumulate a substantial amount of wealth, you become prone to lawsuits that may threaten your hard-earned assets. An estate plan works by removing your names from the assets and putting them into trusts and limited liability entities.
- To plan for philanthropic ventures
This is mostly for people with charity organizations, donor funding ventures or people who wish to extend philanthropism. For them, a sub-section known as legacy planning will be included in the estate plan to ensure that your philanthropic intentions are fulfilled even after death. This will play a big part in how you will be remembered.
Also, plan early enough and let your family members know your intentions so that they can help implement it and seek legal action through a probate court If your wishes are not implemented to the letter.