As the name suggests, estate planning is a plan to deal with your estate. Estate planning is an essential tool to manage your assets when you are alive and die. This planning primarily deals with the aftermath of your death, like what would happen to your assets after your death or who you would give them to. All these things are decided through estate planning.
What Does an Estate Consist Of?
Estate is everything that you own. It can be your car or your life insurance. Your possessions and savings account all come under the umbrella of the estate. All the property that you own also is part of your estate.
The Significance of Estate Planning
Estate planning is necessary for everyone, but most people do not opt for it. Some don’t know about it, and some think it is unnecessary. But in reality, estate planning is for all of us. This is supposed to take care of your loved ones when you are no longer around. Thus, here are some reasons why estate planning is a must requirement for all of us.
You Can Choose Who Inherits Your Assets
This is an essential step that needs to be taken while planning your estate. Often you might think that why do you require to name anyone who inherits your property or other possessions. But it just so happens that after your death, the court decides who should receive your assets. You may believe that this will resolve itself as your state’s intestacy laws will take care of it. However, money tends to bring out the worst in people, and in our profession, we see a lot of family feuds over inheritance. You may have overlooked things like being on the deed of one of your children’s homes to help them qualify for a mortgage. This would create an issue as now your other children can take advantage of the situation and try to claim those shares as part of their inheritance. Thus, it is always better to have estate planning to avoid such a family mess.
You Can Reduce Estate Taxes
A good estate plan can include tax mitigation strategies. For example, the current gift tax exemption is at a record high and can be used to limit your tax exposure. In addition, by creating a will and trust, you can achieve a hundred percent on a step-up basis for your primary home at the first spouse’s death.
Protect the Beneficiaries
Do you have children that are under the age of 18? These children are considered minors. Therefore, it is essential to have good estate planning in such a scenario. Remember, without the proper documents such as a will or trust, your beneficiaries are subject to either probate or administrative proceeding to receive their inheritance. Furthermore, a minor who stands to inherit will have no say over such inheritance until they come of age, and a guardian will be put in charge of their finances. A good estate plan allows you to choose who that guardian will be and how your monies are to be used for the benefit of your minor children.
This is why estate planning is a must, especially when families have minor children. Thru careful planning, you can protect and ensure that your children are well taken care of and hopefully not taken advantage of due to their inheritance.
Protection of Your Assets
Well, we love our belongings. Even if it is a small co-op or a big house, whatever we own is dear to us, and we want it to be taken care of when we are not around anymore. Estate planning is the perfect tool for ensuring that your assets are kept safe. A good estate plan can protect your hard-earned wealth from creditors and see that upon your death when the assets pass to your loved ones. They pass outside of the marital property and their creditors.
Protection of assets is essential as it makes sure that your heritage is kept safe and will continue to flourish long after your demise. In this respect, estate planning is the only and best option for asset protection.
We hope that this article has given you a brief idea of how estate planning is essential for all of us. The best time for estate planning is now. The sooner you do it, the better it is. Then, you will be at peace knowing that your assets are distributed according to your wishes, safeguarded, and preserved for your loved ones.
There is a common perception that estate planning only includes a will or a trust in someone’s or some organization’s name. But it is not true at all. There are many features associated with an estate plan. You can do a lot in your estate planning.
Also, remember that estate planning is not only about wealthy people. Estate planning means giving your belonging to another person after your death. This belonging can be anything, and it does not have to be a costly house or a car. So, keeping in mind that estate planning is for all of us, this article gives you a brief idea of the elements that an estate plan includes.
What Is Estate Planning?
Estate planning is distributing all your belongings to any person or any organization through legal documentation. People mainly do this to protect their beneficiaries and their assets.
Must-Have Contents in Estate Planning!
Here are some of the must-have things in any estate planning:
Wills or Trusts
A will or a trust is a must in estate planning. Even if you do not have any substantial assets, you must have a valid will or a trust where you have distributed your belongings as per your wishes. Sometimes having a confidence puts a limit on the estate taxes.
Now, proper documentation is essential for a will or a trust. You need to be very careful while distributing your assets to your loved ones. Any small mistake can lead to confusion, resulting in legal contests among your relatives. And this scenario could end up being very messy.
Having A Durable Power of Attorney
Making someone else a power of attorney is very important while still alive. For example, if you are mentally incompetent, the court might take your assets and give them to people you did not want to. So, to avoid such situations, you need to have someone else who can make decisions on your behalf.
Most people let their better half take the position of power of attorney just for convenience. But you can choose anyone in the family who you trust the most.
Your insurance plans and savings account can be passed outside of your will. So, it would help if you chose the proper beneficiaries for these accounts. But, on the other hand, if you do not happen to have any beneficiaries, the court tends to take such cases after your death. And the decision of the court might not be the same as yours. So, it is always better to have beneficiaries registered as soon as possible.
Remember that the beneficiary must be more than 18 years old, and they should be mentally competent.
Letter of Intent
A letter of intent is a letter that you can leave to your beneficiaries stating what you want them to do with your possessions and belongings. This kind of document is not valid in front of the court, but definitely, it holds a lot of value to the beneficiary. This letter helps in the distribution of your assets and also portrays your intentions to everyone in the family.
The healthcare Proxy gives another person the power to make healthcare decisions for you. You must be sure that the person with the healthcare power of attorney can be trusted entirely and that they would make the best decisions for your health on your behalf.
SOME IMPORTANT POINTS!
- Estate planning does not cater to rich people only. It is for everyone!
- You need to have proper documentation while planning your estate, or else the probate court can potentially leave all your belongings to some unintended person.
- The estate planning will allow the family member or your attorney to carry out your wishes just in case you become incapacitated while you are alive.
Having estate planning is a necessary step so that all our loved ones can be protected after we are gone. This also ensures the well-being of our hard-earned heritage as well. We hope this article has given you a good idea of estate planning and what it constitutes.
After hearing the term estate planning, most people think that it is just for the wealthy. People with a considerable amount of money are the ones that care about what they pass on to others. While the billionaires and millionaires do have a knack for estate planning, they are not the only ones that can benefit from a good estate plan. Yes, you non-billionaire can benefit from planning; you don’t have to be super-rich and successful in distributing your possessions. Estate planning has very little to do with being rich.
Planning Your Estate
When you are going through the estate planning process, it means that you get to decide how your possessions of yours will be distributed after your death. There is no doubt that it will also decrease the burden that your loved ones have to take when making decisions such as property division. Regardless if you own a small co-op or a portfolio of buildings, don’t you want to control who gets what?
List The Assets That You Have
Having a proper estate plan is an effective and efficient method to ensure that the whole estate planning process goes smoothly. However, everything isn’t as easy as it seems. First, you need to make sure that you form a list of the things that you own. This could include real estate, investments, family heirlooms, bank accounts, vehicles, etc. You also need to ensure that you keep updating this list of yours periodically. Then, you can keep on adding the things that you acquire as your property.
Making A Will
This is one of the most important things you need to include in estate planning. Your will would be the ultimate legal document that you need for the process. This written document would dictate the entire distribution process of the property you have after your passing. In case your death occurs before the creation of a valid will, the state law has the authority to govern the entire distribution process of the estate. Also, the state law can decide who is eligible or capable of becoming the guardian of your children that are minors.
Update The Beneficiary Information
Here is the one crucial thing without which your estate planning process will not be complete. It would help if you made it a particular event annually to check and update the beneficiary information for sure. This can save your family and loved ones from probate costs and the additional burdens that come with it.
With an intelligent estate planning process, anyone would be able to do it in the best way. You don’t necessarily have to be rich, as proved in the above points. All you need to do is have some property that can be distributed amongst the people you love and trust. The process is entirely straightforward.
Having An Up-To-Date Estate Plan Is Important For All
The wealthy people and commoners can take part in the estate planning procedure. We are here to tell you that having an estate plan is essential and efficient and an integral part of one’s consideration when contemplating retirement. There are so many different benefits that one can get from creating a proper and effective estate plan. Here we are going to mention some of these right now.
- You can quickly eliminate or minimize the estate taxes
- There is a scope for providing for the orderly family business succession in the best way
- It is the perfect plan which can be used for incapacity
- Your loved ones can avoid probate and the fees which are associated with it
- There will be no form of family discord since everything will be distributed legally according to the will
- It can potentially help in the preservation of the wealth throughout several generations
- Protection of assets from divorces, lawsuits, and creditors
Having an estate plan is not just important for the wealthy but also for mediocre property owners. This helps establish proper relationships between your loved ones and settles property distributions after your death.
Undoubtedly, it is tough to contemplate your very mortality, and we completely understand it. But then, some people ensure that their wills are planned along with their estate so that their loved ones can live in peace after their deaths. Of course, the people who have an immediate family are the first to do it. However, in the case of no family members, what do people do?
It might not be that common for the owners to provide something for their pets in their wills and trusts, but this practice is catching on. More and more people are trying to make specific provisions for their pets. Estate planning is very important, and people ensure that their pets are well taken care of after their deaths.
Why do You need To Include A Pet In Your Will?
Now you must be wondering why anyone would want to include their pets in the will. The problem actually lies in visualizing what it would be like to have a pet of your choice. Most people don’t even know that such an option is available for those who want it. However, some law firms tend to provide such services. So many people have questions regarding pet estate plans. So, here we will give you some answers and thoughts regarding estate planning for pets and who will be looking after your pets after you’re gone.
If you don’t include your pet in the estate planning process, the pet would be considered a ‘property’ under your will. So, the state law will decide where the property goes. They will be determining the future of your pet. Hence, some people make their pets an inclusion in their wills. This is to ensure that their future is secured in case of the owner’s death.
What To Do While Estate Planning For Pets?
So, during estate planning for pets, what does one do? Well, there are certain things that the owner will be able to do. There is an option where the owner can designate a person to look after and take care of the pet. This is similar to handing some property over to a designated beneficiary. There is also another option that they can choose, which would be the creation of a particular pet trust. Now you might be wondering what exactly that is. The pet trust can be included in the will or be a separate legal document and have a reference in the choice. This is dependent on the laws of the state.
With a pet trust, there would be a person who will be the guardian owner or the trustee of the pet. This trust can also offer some assets to the pet’s care and needs. There is another consideration that people can make. Taking out a particular portion of the life insurance and adding the trust as a specific beneficiary is also an option most people choose. This depends on the insurance company, and if they allow this, then the pet trust would have this particular asset to get the help from after the owner’s death.
So what happens if there is no accommodation provided for the pet and there is no one to take care of it? The pet would be offered to the local or state animal control board, which is not a very good idea. Hence it is advised to have estate planning for pets to make sure that they are looked after.
If you want to have proper estate planning for pets, you need a lawyer to help you out with certain trusts and wills. To some, their pets are their best friends. So why not make sure that your best friends are safe and well cared for when you are no longer around.
Being parents has always been a tough job. Taking care of your children and making sure that they are safe has always been the primary cause of concern for all parents. The same is the case in estate planning as well. Those who have children need to make sure that their estate plan primarily includes their children’s financial stability, especially when they are minors. Thus, this article is here to help such parents who need to develop the best estate plan for their children’s safe future.
Some Tips for Estate Planning for Parents
There are some critical points that you must consider while taking care of estate planning if you have offspring of your own. Here are some tips which are going to help you in this respect.
Tip 1: Leaving Assets Right to Children
Giving all the rights of the assets to the children, whether they are minors or adults, is not a wise choice. It would help if you were careful while making such decisions. Because, after all, they are young. And with all that money, it will be difficult for them to manage. They might spend all of the funds within a few years. So, it would help if you made this decision very carefully with lots of consideration.
In this respect, you can leave the assets to a guardian, who will take care of them until your children reach a certain age. This way, you can safeguard your money for the long term, and in the meantime, the guardian will be able to train your children about handling money and all the other assets.
Normally people would consider the guardian as their spouse. But, if you do not have that option, you can choose a close relative who can be trusted because you do not want all of your money to go into the hands of the wrong people at the end of the day. They might take advantage of it. So, go slow and think wisely before making such decisions.
Tip 2: Write A Will
Writing a will is so necessary if you have children. As mentioned above, if you cannot trust your children fully with the assets, you need to have a guardian to take care of them. You can appoint this guardian through the will. You need to name the person in the choice and give them all the rights of your children while you are around.
This step is essential for the parent while attempting estate planning because if the guardian’s name is not mentioned in the will, the decision will go to court. The court will get to choose the guardian for your minor children, and this choice might not match your preferences. Writing goodwill with proper directions and appointing a guardian is essential to avoid this situation.
Tip 3: You Must Have A Life Insurance
Life insurance is more of a financial choice than a legal one. But it is one of the smartest moves you need to make as a parent. Life insurance guarantees your family a certain amount of money on your untimely death.
This ensures that if one of the parents dies suddenly, the other parent will get a good amount of money to stabilize the family again. This is a sensible decision for people who have children. If something happens to one of the parents, the other parent will be able to take care of the children with the insurance money.
Tip 4: Designation of Beneficiaries
Beneficiaries are those people who will have the right to all your savings accounts after your death. So, if you have children, try to make your spouse or your children the beneficiaries of funds so that when you are no more around them, they can still have the required financial stability. If you fail to put the name of beneficiaries in your accounts, there might be a contest among family members regarding the money, which will only lead to a mess.
Responsibility is the primary key to parenthood, and the only way you can fulfill your responsibilities towards your children after your death is through estate planning. So, make sure you make the right choices while making the plan. Speak with an experienced estate planning lawyer to learn more about how estate planning can best benefit you and your family.
Are you single, and you are retiring soon? Then, this is the right time for you to do some estate planning. Estate planning for single people is essential as, after their death, there won’t be any proper heir or beneficiary to their assets. Thus, it is necessary to make appropriate estate planning if you are single or widowed.
What Does Estate Planning Include?
Following are some of the must-have items which should be there in any estate planning
- Last will – This last will or testament consists of your final wishes regarding the distribution of your assets and who should get them.
- Power of attorney – You must have the power of attorney who can take decisions for you just in case you are found to be mentally incompetent while you are alive. You must be careful while choosing your power of attorney. They must be trustworthy, and they should agree with your point of view and opinions regarding the distribution of property.
- Healthcare Proxy – A healthcare proxy is a must in estate planning. You can give this power to a very trusted person who will be able to make the right medical decisions for you when you aren’t capable of doing so.
- End-of-life plan – End-of-life planning requires you to distribute all your belongings to your loved ones. If you do not have this plan in your estate planning, then the court takes the decision. And more often is the case that the court gives it to the people you did not want to have. Thus, it is one of the essential parts of your estate planning.
The Importance of Estate Planning
It does not matter whether you are single or married while having an estate plan. This legal document provides safety and security to your loved ones and ensures that all your hard-earned belongings are kept safely with the people who care about you.
Thus, estate planning is not only a practical decision but also an emotional one. It offers you peace of mind before dying that all you love will be taken care of no matter what.
Tips for Singles About Estate Planning
Here are some tips that can come in handy for any single earner regarding estate planning.
Take Time to Make Your Estate Planning
Even if you are single, you need to have an estate plan. Primarily married couples give most of their belongings to their spouses. But since you are single, you do not have that option. So, you need to sit down and think carefully about who would be perfectly suitable to take care of your assets after you are gone. So, take your time and decide accordingly about the beneficiaries.
You Have to Have the Power of Attorney and Health Care Attorney
As stated above, you need to have a power of attorney and a health care attorney. They will take care of you even when you are alive and unable to make your decisions. A power of attorney will look after your financial matters while the healthcare proxy will care for your medical decisions.
So, while choosing people for both of these roles, you need to be careful. It will help if you trust them fully before giving them huge responsibilities.
Choose Your Heir
As you are single, you need to decide who to consider as your heir. Usually, people give it to their children or their spouse. But if you are unmarried, without any children, you need to identify your most loved one who you can trust completely with your hard-earned assets. Try to give this to the person close to you who can benefit the most from your investments.
Update the Planning
It is not necessary that you cannot change it once you have made the estate planning. You can change and update your estate planning until you die. So, if you ever feel like making some changes, you can correct them accordingly.
Estate planning is essential for all people in the world, whether married or unmarried, and we hope that this article will guide all the single people working towards their estate planning! However, estate planning can be problematic contact us today to set up your free consultation with one of our experienced estate planning lawyers to see how planning can help you.