Solid estate planning is important for those who have worked hard, saved, and invested their assets, protecting them for loved ones in the future. Preserving your assets not only honors what you’ve done, but also ensures that your loved ones enjoy it in the future. Unfortunately, many individuals procrastinate when it comes to estate planning, thinking that it’s something only pertinent to senior citizens.
The reality, though, is that if you don’t have a specific estate plan, then the state has one for you – and chances are, you won’t approve. Meeting with a legal expert is a surefire way to ensure that all of your bases are covered. Still, there are a few specific details you’ll want to keep in mind during estate planning. These include, but are not limited to:
- Wills and trusts. Arranging for the distribution of your assets can be done many ways, one of which is a will. Others prefer a living trust, since it can be used to avoid probate, which is generally expensive and time-consuming. By discussing your options with a legal expert, you can ensure that your heirs receive their designated share of your resources. By protecting your children’s property, filing beneficiary forms, and considering life insurance, you can ensure that your loved ones receive exactly what they’re supposed to get.
- Incapacity planning. Though estate planning is generally connected to death, a sudden disability or other medical incapacity allows someone to make important decisions concerning your health, finances, and other legal matters on your behalf. For instance, a stroke or serious car accident could leave you alive, but without the mental capacity to make these decisions. Failure to prepare for incapacity planning means that the state will appoint a conservator who will make these major decisions for you. Through advanced health care directives, you can appoint an effective power of attorney for health care, should one be needed.
- Taxes. In general, estates shouldn’t owe the federal government any money. Once your estate reaches $5.25 million in worth, though, then it becomes taxable by the government. Furthermore, couples can transfer twice that amount tax free, as long as the assets are completely left to the living spouse.
- Your business. While this only applies to entrepreneurs, it’s important to ensure that you have a succession plan for your business. If you’re the sole owner, then there should be a buyout agreement or some other way to plan ahead for changes in partnership or ownership.
- Your funeral. A payable-on-death account ensures that your funeral and any related expenses are covered. This shelters your loved ones from having to bear the burden of cost during an emotionally challenging time. Along with considering funeral expenses, it’s important to consider your life insurance options as well.
With so many options in estate planning, you’ll want to meet with a legal expert to ensure that your assets and loved ones are fully protected. Contact Erney Law to learn more about covering your bases in estate planning today.