Before we delve into what estate planning is, it’s best you are aware of what the term “Estate” is. With the knowledge of an estate, you should be able to easily deduce what estate planning is. An estate can be regarded as your net worth at any point in time. Or it can be described as your collective property and liabilities. Your assets is a part of your estate, so is your intellectual properties, etc. Your assets could be your cars, houses, investments, pensions, insurance, etc. When you die, who will inherit your estate? How would you want them to be managed after your demise? Well, you won’t be alive to dictate how your assets are to be distributed or shared, but if you make an estate plan, it can dictate whatever you want regarding your estate.
Having known what an estate is, why don’t we look at what estate planning entails? Estate plan is often made when you are alive and the aim of this plan is to dictate how you want your estate or assets to be shared and managed after your death or incapacitation. Many people are yet to fully understand how important estate planning is. Look at it this way. Estate planning helps plan your future and that of your loved ones. Without an estate plan, after your demise, your family and friends will battle for a portion of your estate and this could get messy, it could damage relationships and result in lawsuits as well.
If you fail to plan your estate, you wouldn’t like the outcome. Failure to plan your estate gives the government the right to dictate who gets a portion of your estate, who becomes your estate executor, and how your estate will be managed. This is usually done based on the intestate law of the state you reside in. This process, is often stressful, time-consuming and it can also be expensive.
So, you shouldn’t wait till you are old before you plan that estate of yours; the earlier the better!
What is a Will?
A will is very important because it holds information regarding how you want your assets to be shared. This legal document also contains information concerning your burial arrangement, how you want your minor children to be cared for, your assets, beneficiaries, etc. In your will, you are to assign an estate executor. An estate executor is an individual who will act on your behalf after your demise. Ensure you select a trust individual, possibly one who is much respected in your family. If you didn’t select an estate executor, the probate court will select one for you. It is the duty of the individual to administer your estate, that’s why he or she is known as an estate administrator. The selected individual is usually a close family relative or the individual that inherits the largest portion of your asset.
After your death, it is the job of your estate executor to tender all necessary paperwork to the local probate court so that the pro bate process can begin. This process can take some months, or a year, depending on the circumstances surrounding the estate. The probate process is mainly done to determine the authenticity of your will.
Probate process is often feared due to its complex nature. You can escape probate by planning an estate that avoid it. A competent estate planning attorney can assist you with this.
A trust is simply a legal media created by an estate owner and used to transfer assets to a trustee who then keeps them in a trust fund for a third party who is regarded as a beneficiary. People create a trust for several reasons. One of the main reason is to escape probate. If you have a wise estate planning lawyer, he or she will advise that you create a trust to reduce difficulties and fees for your loved ones.
If you need a competent estate planning attorney, for your estate plan, you can contact us. Our estate planning attorneys are well experienced and can provide you the assistance and advice you need to create a topnotch estate plan.