The phrase “estate planning” may seem like something reserved only for the wealthy but it is actually a course of action. Actions whereby an individual takes into account various laws in order to gain maximum benefit while carrying out the individual ‘ s own wishes for the disposition of their property upon death. There are no income or property valuation requirements to begin the estate planning process. Estate planning involves wills, trusts, incapacity planning (powers of attorney), probate and tax considerations.
ESTATE PLANNING MATTERS
Is your estate in order? Are your parents’ estates in order? Those of you who have young children and elderly parents, the time for estate planning is now.
The estate plan allows you to plan for who will care for you (and your children); makes sure your property is transferred to the people you want to have it; determined who will handle the business affairs of your estate, and who will handle the property you leave to your children and others.
WHY DELAY ESTATE PLANNING?
For many with young children or elderly parents, the expense of actually sitting down with an attorney may be the leading factor in the delay in estate planning. When you are trying to pay a mortgage, an estate plan may seem like a luxury you can put off until a later date. But consider the possibility that something does happen to you or your spouse or your parents. What would happen then? If you don’t decide what happens should something happen to you, the courts will make the decision for you.
Some delay estate planning because of mixed feelings about death, property issues, even marriage and family relationships. If these issues are causing you to put off planning your estate, take some time to sit down and discuss them with your spouse, or write them down for yourself and really get a handle on your feelings.
Once you have dealt with how you feel about these issues you will have a much better handle on how to plan your estate and the peace of mind that comes from knowing that your family and your property will be taken care of should the unthinkable happen prematurely.
REALITY CHECK (YOUNG CHILDREN)
Be very realistic about your resources and how they will be used. If you want your estate to be used for sending your children to college, you need to think about how they will be supported until they actually do go to college. The first thing to think about is supporting your children. They need food, clothing and shelter first. College is a secondary consideration.
TIME TO PLAN IS NOW
If you are wondering if you need an attorney to plan your estate, the answer is yes. While you can do a simple will with form you find online, if you have small children or elderly parents those forms are not going to design the estate in a way that will truly benefit the family and ensure what is desired is done.
No Attorney-Client Relationship. The information provided above is provided for general informational purposes only and is not legal advice or a substitute for legal counsel. Providing this information is not intended to create and does not constitute an attorney/client relationship. You should not act or refrain from acting on the basis of this information without seeking professional legal counsel.