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The Importance of Estate Planning
Death is inevitable, but most of us do not think about what our loves ones will face after we die. Estate Planning is a sensitive matter and needs to be tailored to your specific situation. Your particular needs will depend on who your heirs are and what is in the estate, including real and personal property, cash, investments, cars, credit card or medical debts, mortgages, funeral expenses.
What is Estate Planning?
Estate planning determines how your estate is handled in accordance with the preparations you make. Estate planning involves determining roles for the executor and administrators, the creation and implementation of your Last Will and Testament, and establishing trusts. It is never too early to begin estate planning. Young parents with minor children are particularly remiss if they don’t have an estate plan in place to protect their children. Who will care for them if you’re gone? What financial support will you leave them with?
Folks need to also plan for what happens if they are temporarily or permanently incapacitated—who will take care of your finances, who will decide how your money is spent? Maybe your current spouse or your adult children? Maybe you want your parents in charge!
The goal of estate planning is to AVOID PROBATE – which is what the court proceedings are called when you have to settle an estate. This takes time and money and also gives creditors of the decedent an opportunity to make a claim on the estate. No matter what options we ultimately determine are the best options for you and your situation, the goal is to always avoid probate. This is almost always possible with some advance planning.
Simple Estate Planning Package (best for older adults with grown or no children)
Leigh Law offers a low cost, comprehensive estate planning package which is tailored to clients’ specific needs. The package includes an in-depth consultation regarding needs and assets, a Simple Will, one deed (no matter what kind you need!), a Power of Attorney (also, no matter what kind you need!) a Health Care Power of Attorney, and a Living Will.
Wills are a great starting point, but many times you can better protect your estate through trusts. A trust allows you to distribute to beneficiaries directly without needing to go through probate and to attach strings or conditions to the money or other estate assets you bequeath through your trust. This is ideal for families with extensive assets, life insurance policies, and/or minor children. Living Trusts include a Pour-Over Will, Health Care Power of Attorneys, Health Care Directives, Financial Power of Attorneys. There are many reasons to consider setting up a trust including allowing you to distribute finds directly to family, having a neutral party in charge of the funds and investments, avoiding probate costs, avoiding creditors, and more privacy than simple wills offer. Trusts also allow a mechanism to express your wishes for guardianship of your minor children should you no longer be able to care for them.
Did you know?
"Living Trusts are one of the most common estate planning tools in use today." — HG.org
Ensure Your Voice (Will) is Heard
There are many considerations when planning your will. Not only do you need to consider what happens after your death, but also think through what should happen if you were temporarily or permanently incapacitated. These are decisions that every person should make before the time comes and it's too late. Your will should be reflected in official documents preparing for all scenarios. Leigh Law will help you plan ahead so you can live without worry knowing your affairs will be handled as you intended.