Getting one’s affairs in order is something of a cliché, yet it is also a necessity. We all have some assets at least, and it’s not only the wealthy who make a will or an estate plan. Your estate is everything you own, and no matter how little it may be you want it to be divided or put in control of the right people.
Leaving this life without a will or estate plan can lead to turmoil and expense on the part of your family and loved ones. This may be difficult to bear at a time when they are also dealing with their loss. Many people choose to have an estate plan drawn up while still alive, and this often involves putting some of their assets into trusts. The benefits of this we shall explain below in our brief article on why you need a professional to draw up your estate plan.
What is an Estate Plan?
An estate plan is just that: a plan put together to manage your estate in the most appropriate fashion. You will need to talk to a professional with expertise in estate planning as it can be a complex area of the law. Whereas you can write a will yourself, an estate plan needs more consideration.
An experience planning attorney such as Libby Banks should be your first port of call. She has helped many people draw up viable estate plans that not only give them peace of mind, but also enable them to be sure that their assets go to the right people. Without an estate plan or will, the government will take what is there and that will be to the detriment of family and friends you may wish to benefit.
An estate plan is a legally binding document that may also include transfer of some assets into trusts in the name of your designated persons. This can help with the tax burden that may be imposed on people who come into possession of your assets, and also enables the careful management of funds and other property while you are still living. Your estate planning attorney will be able to advise you as to the most beneficial steps to take for you and those who stand to benefit from your estate plan and will.
What Can You Include in an Estate Plan?
Many people assume that an estate plan is something for the very wealthy. They certainly will make one, but we cannot overstate the importance of estate planning for everyone. Whether you are young, middle aged or retired and looking at a relaxed remainder of your life there are good reasons to look into your estate and ensure that you understand the value of what is involved.
The word ‘Estate’ conjures an image of a large house and land. That is part of the meaning, but in addition that are other assets that are part of your estate. If you have a car that is part of your estate. What about items you have treasured over the years? If you have antique furniture that you may have inherited or bought you should have it valued, as it is also part of your estate. Then there are collections such as stamps or coins, or other valuable items that you may own. Everything is part of your estate.
What people overlook often is that any business holdings they may have are also part of the estate. If you own or part own a business it is essential that you have in place a succession plan, and this should be incorporated as part of your estate plan. You may want to bring someone on stream now in order to ensure the business is in safe hands.
One further point to make is that any life insurance policies you have are also part of your overall estate and need to be considered. These will be a part of the benefits to the named persons in your estate and your professional estate planning attorney will be able to advise you as to the best method of including them in your plan or trusts.
From the brief explanation above it should be clear that a will or an estate plan should be put in place now rather than waiting for the future to unfold. The events of recent months have shown us how we cannot possibly forecast what will happen in the near future, so it is best to be covered across all angles, so you are safe and sound in respect of your estate.
Make an appointment with an estate planning attorney and make a list of assets you have including any valuable items that you own and start putting your house in order by having an estate plan drawn up for your peace of mind and that of your family.