What is Estate Planning?
Estate planning is the process of deciding what will happen to your estate – all of the things that you own or are responsible for – after you pass away. And while the word estate might conjure images of massive properties and holdings, the truth is that everyone has an estate and everyone needs a plan. Your estate encompasses things like your house, real estate holdings, cars, checking and savings accounts, furniture and other possessions, life insurance, and investments. Estate planning helps you to decide in advance what will happen to these things, how your dependents will be cared for, and helps you to do so with a minimum of taxes and fees.
Why should I plan?
The goal of estate planning is to plan, organize and protect. Without a plan in place at your passing, the state will determine how your property will be divided. This process can involve lengthy legal proceedings and expensive court costs. The courts will control the process and will not know what your desires for your property were. Loved ones whom you had intended to receive a majority of your holdings could find themselves with a small fraction of your estate. Additionally, having a plan in place ensures that your records are organized in advance. Things like insurance policies, financial records, and titles and deeds are all organized and reviewed to ensure that they are error free. And most importantly, estate planning protects your loved ones. If you have minors in your care, it is vital that you ensure that they are cared for physically and financially. Estate planning lets you choose how to protect and care for your loved ones.
When do I need to start a plan for my estate?
Often individuals will assume that there is always time to work on their will and plan for their dependents. The truth is that the sooner that you have a legal plan in place, the better. No one wants to sit and think about what will happen to their possessions or loved ones after they are gone, but the stark reality is that if you do not have a plan in place, the state will decide what happens to your estate. This includes determining who will receive custody of and make important decisions about minors in your care. Estate planning means that you have peace of mind knowing that the things you have worked hard for and those that you love will be cared for in the manner that you desire. Ensuring that you have a plan in place now means that you, your loved ones, and your property are protected. Do not assume that you need to wait to be older or have a bigger estate. Estate planning means planning for right now and making changes as needed.
Offer yourself and your family peace of mind knowing that the details of your estate and the care of your loved ones have already been arranged. We invite you to contact us and let Alexander Law Firm help you begin planning your estate today.