Attorney Baldwin NY
Facts About Estate Planning Everyone Should Know
If you’re like most people, you probably think that an estate is something only the wealthy have; but believe it or not, you have an estate. In fact, everyone does!
Your estate is made up of everything that you own, such as your home, vehicles, bank accounts, life insurance, and evening furnishings and personal effects. While the size of an estate differs from person to person, there’s one thing that all estates have in common: they can’t be taken with you when you pass away.
It’s difficult to talk about mortality, but it’s an important topic to discuss and plan for because if there’s only one thing in life that’s guaranteed, it’s that it does come to an end. When you do pass away (and hopefully it’s not for years to come), you can’t take the things you own with you, but you can control how they are handled and who will receive them. How? – By creating an estate plan.
Estate Planning Explained
Estate planning involves making a plan for the things that you own – your estate – and how they will be handled when you pass away; who will get what and when you want the people you have named in your estate to receive those items.
Effective estate planning should also:
· Highlight instructions for the care you want to receive should you become incapacitated before you pass away.
· Name guardians for living minors who are dependent on you.
· Provide for loves ones who have special needs and their care will be impacted if you become incapacitated or when you perish.
· Establish any wishes you would like to have carried out for your funeral.
· Naming beneficiaries and establishing trust accounts in their name to minimize estate taxes.
If the care of your loved ones, yourself, and the manner in which your assets will be handled in the event that you become debilitated or when you die are things that are important to you, setting up an estate plan should be a priority.
It Starts With a Will
In order to establish an estate plan, you first need to create a will. Your will is a legal document that details instructions for how you want your property to be handled after you perish. If you have children who are minors, it will also indicate who you want to care for them in the event of your death.
An executor will handle your will and see to it that the wishes you stated within it are handled the way you intend them to be handled.
Estate Planning is Important for Everyone
Estate planning isn’t something that is only reserved for the wealthy or the elderly. As mentioned, everyone has an estate, and even if it is modest, it’s a wise idea to determine how you want your assets handled after you pass away. Furthermore, most people tend to think about estate planning more as they grow older, but nobody can predict how long they will live. Illnesses and accidents claim the lives of people of all ages, which is why it’s important to think about estate planning as soon as you start establishing assets.
Estate Planning should be an Ongoing Process
Estate planning shouldn’t be a one-time occurrence; once it’s planned, it should be reviewed and updated regularly. Your assets and the needs of your loved ones will change throughout the course of your lifetime. Reviewing and updating your estate plan will ensure that your loved ones and your assets are handled how you want them to be as circumstances in your life change.
Many People Don’t Create an Estate Plan
Too many people don’t create an estate plan. They put it off because they don’t think that they need one yet, they don’t create one because they don’t think they have enough assets to warrant an estate plan, or they’re just too busy.
If you don’t create an estate plan, your loved ones will be left to figure out how your assets should be handled. This can lead to serious financial problems, as well as strife between family members.
If you don’t have an estate plan, your assets will be distributed according to state probate laws. This means that the state – not you – will determine how your assets will be handled, which essentially means that they will also determine how your loved ones will be cared for when you pass away.
An estate plan is one of the wisest investments that you can make. To learn more about setting up an estate plan or if you have any questions, please contact our office today.