The Role of Estate Planning

March 31, 2016

Why Create an Estate Plan?

Estate planning is important for many reasons. Saving money, providing for loved ones, avoiding probate, and gaining peace of mind are some of the many reasons to create an estate plan. Creating an estate plan can also help you to evaluate your financial situation and set financial goals that can help you live more comfortably later in life. In addition, the right estate plan should make administering and transferring your property upon your death easier on those closest to you.

With larger estates, estate planning can save significant amounts in taxes. In smaller estates, the focus is generally on avoiding probate so that assets may transfer more quickly to beneficiaries upon death; this is particularly important when you have dependents. Estate planning can also help you in nominating a guardian for your minor children should something happen to you, or allow you to designate the person you want to care for you if you are unable to care for yourself. Overall, estate planning places you in control of matters before they leave your control. This is a major reason why estate planning is so important to many people.

What is Estate Planning?

Estate planning involves not only preparing to transfer your assets to those you love or wish to benefit when you die, but making decisions about who will care for you and your property should you become incapacitated. It involves making decisions regarding the use of life sustaining treatment if you are in a permanently unconscious state. Sometimes, with larger estates, estate planning may involve making gifts during your lifetime to achieve estate tax benefits when you die. Estate planning is a process and your plan will require updating periodically when individual circumstances or the law have changed. Various estate planning tools and documents, such as Trusts, Wills and Powers of Attorney documents, are used to allow the process of transferring property to occur more smoothly upon ones death and make it easier for person’s close to you to care for you and your property upon your inability to do so yourself. The planning does not end when you leave your attorney’s office. Often, trusts need to be funded and accounts need to be renamed to achieve the results of effective estate planning.

When is the Time Right to Create an Estate Plan?

It is never too early to start in the estate planning process; however, the decision to prepare an estate plan becomes more important with certain factors including your age, family situation and the value of your assets. For example, the older one gets, the more important one should consider creating an estate plan with an attorney. Also, if you have a spouse and kids, or other loved ones that depend on you, the more important it becomes to create an estate plan. In addition, the amount of assets you own can play an important factor in influencing whether you should create an estate plan. Estate planning can be used to save significant amounts on state and federal estate taxes if your estate is larger than a threshold exemption amount. In the end, whether the time is right for you to develop an estate plan is a personal decision and can be influenced by an unlimited number of factors. However, when you choose to develop an estate, it is important to contact an attorney who can advise you on the best estate plan for you. In many cases, simple estate planning techniques will have a significant impact on how quickly and easily your estate is administered.

Please contact one of our attorneys to discuss how you can benefit from our estate planning services. Whether you need assistance with creating a will, trust, or power of attorney directives, we look forward to serving you.

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