When you hear the term estate planning, you may think that this is just a tool for the wealthy. However, estate planning is an essential part of managing anyone’s assets and final wishes. If you are to become mentally incapacitated or pass away early, your estate plan will ensure that your affairs are properly executed.
If you own assets such as a business, a home, or a vehicle that you want to be dealt with in a specific way after you die, estate planning is the way to handle these details. You can plan for future scenarios, including your health care and the welfare of your minor children.
Your estate planning will include your last will and testament and additional trusts that you deem necessary to distribute your assets. It’s recommended that you consult a probate attorney like this Alabama estate planning attorney to help you create a solid estate plan. Let’s take a closer look at a few of the primary goals of estate planning.
Ensuring that your family is financially taken care of after you are gone is the most important aspect of planning your estate. Each person will have different wishes as to how their property is divided between their beneficiaries. Your estate plan will outline how your children, spouse, and any other chosen heirs will receive their inheritance. Without a clear plan and definition of your wishes, your family may be left with a court deciding who gets the bulk of your estate. This would mean that your property may not be divided in a way that is fair.
If you don’t have an estate plan, the bulk of your will could be detained in the probate process. This is when your will is submitted to the courts and there is a process to decide the validity, how much tax will be paid on the estate, and who will receive your assets. The probate process could take up to six months, resulting in your family members having to wait to receive their inheritance. Many people that conduct estate planning prefer to put their larger assets like property, investment portfolios, and savings into living trusts. These trusts are exempt from the probate process and will be forwarded directly to the named beneficiaries.
Your estate plan can include everything that you wish to happen in the event of your death, including your funeral arrangements. If you have a specific plan for how your remains are to be treated, your estate plan is where you will outline the details. Without an estate plan, your family may not have the guidance they need to make the arrangements you would prefer.
Planning your estate is essential if you have minor children. You will want to delegate a choice of guardian that will take over the care of your children should you die unexpectedly. Without naming a guardian for your children, the courts will be left to choose a home for them without the benefit of your preference. In some cases, your children could end up in the foster care system.
With the help and advice of a probate professional, you can create an estate plan that protects your family and your assets.
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