Creating an estate plan is often pushed back on nearly everyone’s to-do list. The reasons you might be delaying vary from lack of time, not thinking you have enough assets, not knowing how to start, or fear of contemplating death. Whatever the reason, now is the time to meet with an estate planning attorney to implement a plan.
What is an Estate Plan?
In general terms, an estate plan is a set of legal documents that outline your wishes on the distribution of your assets and who is responsible for your dependents, in the event of your death or legal incapacity. The development of an estate plan should be with a qualified estate planning attorney to ensure that it will work as intended and fully protect your family. Here’s how an estate plan can you protect the newest addition to your family.
Protect Your Children
Perhaps to top reason to put together an estate plan is to dictate who will care for your children in the event you and your spouse are unable to care for your kids. Your estate plan can designate someone you trust and who shares your values as a guardian of your minor children. – This is the person who will essentially be a surrogate parent and raise the children through adulthood. Therefore, when selecting a guardian, it is important to choose people who will be willing participants in your estate plan. Consider who shares your values and parenting philosophy, and who you trust to raise your children.
Distribute Your Things
While some assets have purely financial value, others have deep emotional attachments. Not only will a trust-based estate plan speed up the probate process, but it will save your heirs’ money. As you may already know, probate is the process of wrapping up a deceased person’s affairs with court-supervision. This consists of multiple steps, including presenting a deceased’s last will and testament (if they had one – otherwise the probate court uses the government’s default plan known as intestacy), gathering assets, paying off debts, and distributing what’s left over to the deceased’s heirs. Therefore, using a trust to provide specific instructions on distribution of assets can help ward off fights among surviving relatives. Additionally, special features in your trust also allow you provide long-term financial stability and support for your children. These lifetime trusts can prevent a financially immature young child from using up their inheritance.
Provide for Your Loved Ones
Creating an estate plan will inform your loved ones what final health care decisions should be made on your behalf. Serving as healthcare proxy is an enormous responsibility. You can help lessen the burden by communicating your wishes about medical decisions. One significant advantage of properly planning is that your intentions are clear. Your surviving family members will not have to guess what your desires are.
Find an Estate Planning Attorney
If you have experienced a recent life-event – such as a new baby, a work promotion, purchasing a home, moving to a new state, or any other milestone – you should discuss your situation with an estate planning lawyer. However, if you already have a will or trust, updating it can ensure it provides for your loved ones. To learn how estate planning can protect you, your newborn, and the rest of your family, contact us today.