Why Do I Need An Estate Plan?
Everyone has assets which constitute an estate. Your estate consists of everything you own in your individual name and some jointly-held assets. These assets might include a home, vacation property, furniture, jewelry, vehicles, checking and savings accounts, brokerage accounts, life insurance, retirement accounts or a business.
Whenever asked, all individuals state emphatically that they would prefer to determine who controls their assets and where they go in the event of their incapacity or death. However, unless you take the time to put those desires in writing, then the state of your residence will make those decisions for you. Estate planning involves making a plan in advance and naming whom you want to receive the assets you own after you die. However, good estate planning includes much more than just a basic will.
The attorneys at Legacy Protection Lawyers have advanced legal degrees in estate planning. This means that the estate plans they develop for you will include:
- A tax efficient estate plan to minimize unnecessary estate taxes.
- Provisions for your care if you become disabled.
- Instructions for passing on your personal values (education, religion, work ethic, etc.).
- Special provisions for loved ones who may not be responsible with money or who may need future protection from creditors or divorce.
- Identifying and naming the proper beneficiary of life insurance proceeds and retirement accounts to avoid unnecessary taxes.
- Providing for the transfer of your business at your retirement, disability, or death.
- Identifying and appointing a guardian and an inheritance manager for minor children.
- Specific provisions for family members with special needs without disrupting government benefits.
Many of our clients are concerned about preserving their legacies by minimizing administrative hassles, court intervention, taxes, court costs, and unnecessary legal fees. We help our clients be prepared when a crisis hits by creating an estate plan that will allow your family to avoid as much of these hassles and expenses as possible.
Each Person Needs An Estate Plan
Each person needs to plan their estate, and if you don't plan ahead yourself, the government has a prepared estate plan for you. By not exercising your right to say where your assets go, you are stuck with the government’s default plan—and it's not likely to be the plan you want. If you become disabled without an effective plan in place, a court will determine who will control how your assets are invested and how they will be used.
If you are a parent and die with a minor child, a court determines who will raise your child. Any inheritance directed to your minor child will be controlled by a court-appointed conservator or guardian. Courts cannot just give an inheritance outright to a minor. If both parents die without a properly crafted estate plan, the court (with its related expense and hassle), will effectively control your children's inheritance. At age 18, when most parents plan their children to attend college, your child may be able to gain complete and unprotected access to their inheritance without proper estate planning.
Depending on the state where you reside, if you are married but have children from a previous marriage, your spouse and children will each receive a share. That means your spouse could receive only a fraction of your estate, which may not be enough to live on. If you have minor children, the court will control their inheritance. If both parents die (i.e., in a car accident), the court will appoint a guardian without knowing whom you would have chosen.
Our clients prefer that these estate planning matters be handled privately by their family, not in the public domain by the courts.
Peace Of Mind…Another Big Benefit!
Having a properly prepared and planned estate plan will give you and your family a peace of mind. Planning and executing your estate plan is one of the most thoughtful and considerate things you can do for yourself and for those you love. Legacy Protection Lawyers can help you achieve your peace of mind!