It is always a good idea to plan for your future. One way you can make sure that your assets are handled according to your wishes at the time of your passing is to create an estate plan. There are different ways you can handle estate planning, and different ways to have your assets taken care of.
More than half of American adults do not have any basic estate planning in place, according to the American Association of Retired Persons. It is time to start changing that statistic. Regardless of the type of estate plan you choose, it is essential that you have one, and there are many different reasons why.
For all of your estate planning needs, you can contact the estate planning attorneys at Galanti and Copenhaver. Our office handles all different types of estate planning needs for our clients, at any stage in the process. Contact us today to schedule a consultation to discuss your estate plans.
1. To Plan for Your Own Needs
Part of your estate plan will address issues that may come up during your lifetime. With an estate plan, you can designate someone to make decisions on your behalf if you become unable to do it yourself. This can mean if you become incapacitated, but you can also designate a power of attorney to handle matters for you in situations where you are out of the country and cannot be reached.
You can also include your end-of-life care wishes, such as wanting or not wanting to be on life-support. Additionally, another way you can benefit yourself with an estate plan is to create a revocable trust (often called a living trust) to hold your assets while you are alive and then designate beneficiaries for those assets upon your death.
2. To Establish Plans for Disbursement of Your Assets Upon Your Death
Another reason to have a solid estate plan in place is to make sure your assets are distributed according to your wishes to your chosen beneficiaries. Some assets like life insurance or retirement accounts require you to name beneficiaries already, so they do not necessarily need to be addressed in a will. Your attorney can give you more guidance when it comes to things that should be included in estate plans.
A will is the most basic type of estate plan. It names either an executor or a personal representative who will then be responsible for the administration of your estate and the disbursement of assets after you die. You can use a will to establish your plans for the distribution of your assets upon your death.
3. To Appoint a Guardian for Your Minor Children
If you have minor children and have an untimely passing, you will want to make sure that they are taken care of. With an estate plan, you can designate a guardian to take care of your children if this happens to you. Knowing you have plans in place to make sure your children are going to be well-cared for if something unexpected occurs is invaluable.
4. To Minimize Taxes
You likely want to make sure that your beneficiaries are receiving as much of your wealth as possible, rather than it going to pay taxes. There are new tax laws that allow your beneficiaries to benefit by paying fewer estate taxes. Your attorney can help explain these laws and how they may apply to your estate plans.
5. To Make Sure You Are Able to Support Your Favorite Charitable Organizations
Many people have certain philanthropic goals and want to support the charitable organizations that they believe in. By having an estate plan in place, you can designate what assets are given to what charities upon your passing. This gives you the chance to truly make a difference in one or more causes that are important to you.
6. To Protect the Wealth of Your Family
Protecting the wealth of your family may be particularly important to you if you have a larger estate to pass on. An estate plan allows you to keep wealth in your family. One estate planning option is to create an irrevocable trust, which protects the assets in the trust from being available to creditors or a part of frivolous lawsuits.
7. To Avoid Confusion and Problems for Your Loved Ones
With a solid estate plan, it is clear how your assets are to be distributed. There will be less confusion for your family members during the difficult time when they are grieving your passing. You may also be able to help your family avoid going through probate, depending on the estate plan you decide on. This can save time and money for your family.