It isn't fun to think about dying, but sometimes it's necessary. Having an estate plan takes a lot of the stress off of your family after your death, because it tells them what your wishes are and how you want your assets distributed. Unfortunately, a lot of people don't bother to make plans for their estate because they assume the amount of assets they own isn't substantial enough to require an official plan. However, everyone has an estate, even if it isn't a massive one. So, before you decide that you don't want to create a detailed estate plan, check out these estate plan facts.
Estate Planning Helps Your Family Avoid Probate Court
Having a will written doesn't mean that your family won't need to deal with probate court after your death. Yes, your Last Will and Testament does tell your family how you want your assets distributed, but before they can be distributed, it needs to be approved in court. If you want your family to avoid probate court completely, you need to have an estate plan that includes a revocable living trust. This way, after your death, all of your assets are placed in the trust. The trust is managed by a trustee that you've appointed until your beneficiaries reach the age indicated in the details of the trust. In addition to bypassing probate court, a revocable living trust allows you to protect your assets from the beneficiaries' creditors and spouses, as well as continue providing financial support for any loved ones with special needs, such as a mentally disabled sibling or a parent who resides in a nursing home.
Estate Plans are More Than After-Death Instructions
Many people assume estate plans aren't useful until they die, but that isn't true. Estate plans actually include things such as instructions for handling your care in the event you become disabled before your death, as well as documentation that names a guardian for your minor children and your living will.
The Process is Ongoing
When people think about estate planning, they often assume that it's something that you should do once you retire. However, you don't know how long you will live. So, everyone, both young and old, needs an estate plan that can be modified throughout their life. In addition to completing a regular review of your estate plan every few years to make sure everything is still accurate and no adjustments are needed, you will make adjustments to your estate plan any time you acquire a new asset or a life-changing event, like marriage or having a child, occurs.
The fact is, having an estate plan makes it easier for your family to deal with financial concerns and funeral planning after your death, as well as tells your loved ones how you want to be cared for if you become disabled. When you're ready to start creating your estate plan, contact a legal services firm or a probate lawyer in your area, like McFarland & Masters LLC, for help.