A well-designed estate plan prevents financial and legal hassles for your loved ones after you are gone. It goes a long way in helping prevent stress in relationships and ensuring that the creator’s wishes regarding asset distribution and their health care wishes are honored.
Many people brush off estate planning as something they could do at a later stage of life. This could prove to be a costly mistake. If you push off estate planning too long, you might not get enough time to put your financial house in order.
So how early should you start estate planning? As early as possible. If you are past your youth, there is no better time to start working towards your goals than right now.
What Does an Estate Plan Include?
There is more to estate planning than just a will. Though a will is a highly crucial component of an estate plan, it is not the only necessary document. A will allows you to leave your assets to your intended beneficiaries. Your estate plan must also include these documents.
Power of attorney
An estate creator can use their power of attorney to nominate a person who will make important financial and healthcare-related decisions if the creator becomes physically or mentally incapacitated.
It goes without saying that you should choose someone you can trust. Give very precise instructions to your agent and leave no room for doubt or confusion.
Many assets in an estate plan are subject to probate. Probate can be a time-consuming, costly process that can make the dependents of an estate creator feel emotionally and mentally drained. Probated wills are public records, which means anyone can view them.
A living trust will allow you to keep much of your assets out of the probate process. An experienced and skilled estate planning attorney near you will use your living trust to reduce estate taxes and simplify the process.
Also known as a living will, an advanced directive provides instructions regarding the creator’s health-care wishes.
You cannot create your estate plan and forget it. Whenever your financial situation changes or tax laws change, or an important life event (such as a marriage, death, or birth) occurs, revisit your estate plan and make necessary changes to ensure it stays relevant.
Whether you want to update an existing estate plan or create a new one from scratch, the Johnston Thomas Law team can help. Our experienced and skilled attorneys will come up with a plan to protect your assets from probate. To make an appointment, call (707) 545-6542.