What is Estate Planning:
Estate planning is simply the process of stating how you want your estate to be managed after you pass away or if you become incompetent and unable to manage your affairs on your own. Although estate planning has been around for a long time, it is becoming increasingly popular.
There are many aspects to Estate Planning, but the first step is to perform a thorough examination of your estate assets. Your estate consists of everything you possess, including:
- Retirement Accounts etc.
Why Do You Need To Plan Your Estate and What Happens If You Don’t?
An estate protects beneficiaries. Designating successors for your assets, whether it’s a vacation, cottage, or stock portfolio, is the most important part of estate planning. If you don’t have an estate plan in place, the courts will usually decide who receives your assets, which can take years, cost a lot of money, and be very unpleasant. It also protects children. You should name guardians for your children if both parents die before they reach the age of 18. This will ensure that they are cared for in a manner that you approve of. If you don’t specify these guardians in your will, the courts will decide who will raise your children.
What do you need to think about when planning your estate?
There are many steps involved in creating a comprehensive Estate Plan, but we’ve made it as simple as possible for you by listing them all.
- Gather your resources. Everything you own, from cars to collectibles, should be inventoried.
- Take care of your family. Consider whether you have enough life insurance to leave your family in a position to continue living the way you do.
- Choose the best strategy for you. Determine the type of Estate Plan you require.
- Choose someone to be the guardian of your children/pets/self. If you have children or pets, or if you care for a loved one who is unable to care for themselves, you should appoint a guardian. You can also designate who you want to make medical and/or financial decisions for you if you become unable to do so for yourself.
- Give your Beneficiaries a name. Beneficiaries will be pre-designated on some documents and accounts. These could include, for example, retirement plans and life insurance policies. However, if you want to leave certain assets to a specific person, you should include them in your Will or Trust.
- Keep your Estate Planning documents in a safe place. Place your Estate Plan in a secure location where your loved ones can easily access it. A fireproof safe is a good investment.
- Over time, update as needed. There is no hard and fast rule for when you should update your Estate Plan, but a good rule of thumb is to do so whenever a major life event occurs (birth of a child, death of someone important to your plan, marriage, divorce, etc.). And, if you haven’t had any major life events in the last few years, try to review and update as needed every 3 – 5 years.
We have experienced estate lawyers at Hayman Lawyers who can assist you with any issues, disputes, or planning that your assets may require. If you want to be prepared for any situation, contact us right away, and we will match you with the best lawyer for your needs!