Estate planning is one of the most important decisions you will ever make for both you and your loved ones. And yet, so many people delay putting that plan in place. Perhaps it’s because it’s uncomfortable and even a little sad to think about or discuss the day we die. It could also be that most of us genuinely believe we have time — that wills, trusts, and powers of attorney are the things we set up when we’re older and wiser, not when we’re young and have our entire lives in front of us.
But the reality is that life circumstances change in the blink of an eye. And it’s not always death. It could be short or long-term incapacitation, life-altering injuries, illnesses, or even major life changes such as divorce, remarriage, kids, etc.
The bottom line is that it’s better to be prepared instead of forcing your loved ones to scramble in the moment.
What is estate planning?
In its simplest form, estate planning is the process of making it clearly known through a series of legal documents what your wishes are after you die or become incapacitated and can’t make decisions for yourself. Think of it as an extremely detailed and carefully-crafted list of instructions, and it covers everything from what to do with your assets and who gets what to where and how you want to be buried, who will care for your minor children, and who is in charge of seeing all of this through to fruition.
Estate planning can be overwhelming, especially when you think about everything you own (cars, jewelry, houses, investments, savings, retirement, land, etc.), the myriad of ways you hope to protect your loved ones, and the legacy you leave behind.
Depending upon your needs and circumstances, proper estate planning could involve a variety of documents:
- Healthcare directives
- Power of Attorney
- Various other documents
The benefits of estate planning are limitless
Though not a complete list by any means, below are 15 benefits of estate planning:
- You can provide for your family and protect them even in death.
- Flexibility in estate planning allows you to plan for death or incapacity.
- You can minimize your expenses and avoid unnecessary taxes.
- There are no misconceptions or misunderstandings about what you want.
- You can be as specific as you want when it comes to who inherits what and when.
- Estate planning can ensure your business continues with a succession plan.
- You can pass on assets in a way that minimizes tax burdens on loved ones.
- You can provide for those who need help (example: a child with special needs).
- You can often name your child’s guardian in the event of your death.
- You can avoid a lengthy probate if you have a trust.
- Estate planning minimizes the chances of family arguments and legal battles.
- Estate planning saves your family from having to make difficult decisions.
- You can modify your estate plan as your life circumstances change.
- You can give your loved ones clarity and yourself peace of mind.
- You can create a legacy.
Our attorneys will help you to create legal instruments to distribute your assets according to your wishes, nominate a guardian for minor children, minimize family disputes, avoid probate and estate administration, and plan for incapacity. Where you fall in that conversation may not be clearly defined until we can sit down, dive into your unique situation, and determine the best course for everyone involved.
Please call Christman Ramsey & Foster, PC, for your legal needs today!
Please consult an attorney for advice about your situation. The material on this website and in this or any blog article we publish are for informational purposes only and do not constitute legal advice. The attorneys at Christman Ramsey & Foster, PC believe in tailoring legal advice and solutions to your circumstances.
We have an unwavering commitment to helping our clients at each stage of their legal situation.