An estate plan is important for everyone. Without a legally enforceable estate plan, a court may apply state laws and decide how your assets will be distributed and who will raise your minor children. In addition to allowing you to direct the wrap-up of your affairs after you are gone, an estate plan can also help you reduce taxes, expedite settling your estate and reduce conflict in your family.
Yahoo Finance’s recent article, “3 Overlooked Benefits of Estate Planning,” explains that planning your estate entails making arrangements to ensure that your wishes are carried out after your death.
While some think estate planning is only for those with mansions and millions in the bank, this isn’t true. Instead, even those with modest assets can benefit from having a defined estate plan.
Remember that the estate planning process isn’t about how much you have—it’s about making sure what you do have ends up where you want it. It may also decide who will be responsible for raising any minor children who survive you.
Your estate plan can also affect taxes, the time it takes to settle your estate, your end-of-life medical care and the odds that your family will fight over it.
Deciding who gets what is the big question of many estate plans. Your estate consists of the assets, property and personal items you own at your death. This may include real estate, bank accounts, life insurance, stocks and investments, retirement accounts, and personal property like collectibles, vehicles, art and jewelry.
The documents in estate plans include a last will and testament, a living will, financial and medical powers of attorney and documents establishing various trusts.
Start your estate plan today with the help of an experienced estate planning attorney and review it periodically to accommodate marriages, divorces and births. The process often includes reviewing your property and wishes, drafting a will, naming an executor, assigning healthcare and financial proxies and settling other matters, like funeral arrangements.
Reference: Yahoo Finance (April 24, 2023) “3 Overlooked Benefits of Estate Planning”