The holidays are the perfect time to give thanks for what you have, and the people who surround you in your life. Obviously, it is comforting to know where the assets you have worked so hard for your whole life will go, but estate planning is not generally for the person doing the planning. Oftentimes, estate planning is an act of love for your family members, not only does it express to them how much they mean to you, but it gives them a roadmap to follow after your death, eliminating the guesswork.
Dying without an estate plan is problematic for a number of reasons. As difficult as it is to think about death, leaving your children and loved ones without a plan for your assets is leaving them to inherit a huge headache. Estate planning is an act of kindness because you are able to take the guesswork away, ensuring that everything will go as planned when you are not here to advocate for it.
Many people avoid creating an estate plan because they do not like thinking about their death, but estate plans are meant to be revised throughout your lifetime, meaning creating one is not a death sentence. You cannot assume that your assets will be automatically inherited by your heirs without an estate plan. Without the proper documents in place, many of the decisions will be left up to the probate court.
Organizing Your Assets is an Act of Gratitude
Trust Agreements and beneficiary designations can help your family and keep the courts out of your affairs. Aside from the fact that probate is a lengthy court process including lots of paperwork, it is also extremely expensive, meaning that some of your estate you planned to leave for your family could end up paying for those pesky court costs.
Estate planning does not only help save yourself the headache, it also may save some serious cash. Say, for example, you wanted to gift your child property before you died to avoid probate. Such gift will require them to pay taxes on appreciated gain when they sold the property. On the other hand, inheriting property through your estate plan at death and sold shortly thereafter allows all those tax dollars to stay in their pocket.
Creating an estate plan is beneficial because it allows you to pass assets to heirs according to pre-arranged conditions, for example, if you are passing money down to young children or grandchildren you can control how much money they get and when.
This is not an extensive list, but it can give you an idea of how estate planning can help. Should you have questions about this or any other estate planning matter, do not hesitate to contact to our office! To get started on your estate plan, contact our legal office today.