Why bother planning your estate? Just as the old saying goes, ‘Life is short.’ Well, estate planning can reflect exactly that idea. Time on earth is short so we must make each moment count. Though the prospect of your death is scary, it’s also a fact that you should face head-on.
It would be wise to take precautions now to safeguard yourself and your loved ones from suffering. This article will cover just about everything that you need to know about estate planning so that you will have a good idea as to why it’s something that should be on your radar.
We’re going to go over the various reasons and benefits of having a proper estate plan in place with the help of a Tacoma Estate Planning Attorney, along with the different types of documents that are common among estate plans. To start things off, we’ll take a look at some of the basic information about planning estate.
Basics of Estate Planning
Your estate is the entire value of your property and goods (assets). A valuable object is something that has worth. Estate planning includes specifying how you want your assets transferred after your death, as well as any actions you want to be taken, such as special care for your disabled kid.
Ensuring your capacity to make good decisions for yourself and your family while still alive is part of estate planning. Estate planning may be difficult and painful. It’s difficult to fast-forward through life and plan for your demise.
Reasons why you should plan for your future
No matter how rich or poor, successful or unsuccessful you are now, you can always benefit from planning for your future.
Trying to plan for your future may seem like a difficult task, but the benefits of doing so far outweigh any difficulties associated with it. We will discuss some of the advantages of why you should plan for your future.
The Benefits of Estate Planning
Estate planning benefits are endless.
- Support Your Family
Without an estate plan, your family gets less, and it takes longer to acquire their inheritance. This leaves your loved ones in limbo, unable to pay their bills. It’s not unusual for families to struggle financially for months or even years following a sudden death.
With an estate plan, you can safeguard your family and avoid financial catastrophe.
- Protection For Kids
Nobody wants to think about dying early, yet parents with young children must prepare. A will guarantee your children get the care you want.
Parents die before kids become 18, and in such cases, naming their would-be guardians assures you that you are leaving them to someone you trust. Otherwise, without a will and guardianship names, the court chooses who raises your kids.
- Quickly access assets
Without a will or estate plan, your family may have to wait three to nine months to receive your assets. With the right plan, your family gets money promptly for medical costs, funerals, and other necessities.
- State Your Wishes
With a good plan, your family understands your final desires. This prevents fights and helps your family avoid conflict. You may customize anything to your liking.
- Save Your Family From Hard Choices
Imagine your spouse or children faced with the option to end your life or how to take care of your remains. These choices are painful.
Preparing for some circumstances ahead of time is helpful to your loved ones. You can specify end-of-life care, such as life support, or palliative care. You are the best person to make such decisions, so your family knows they follow your wishes.
6) Save on Estate Taxes
An irrevocable trust might help minimize or eliminate estate taxes. This purpose can be accomplished in a variety of ways. A trust that passes everything to your beneficiaries or a charity of your choice is one approach to avoid inheritance tax.
This trust avoids probate which transfers ownership of assets to a trustee.
You don’t own your assets if you can’t control them. This is a simplified example, but the assets transferred do not count towards your taxable estate.
- Probate Avoidance
A probate court and state law will determine how assets are allocated to your family if you die without a living trust. Going through the probate process takes time and money.
- Plan for incapacitation.
You may plan for mental or physical disability when you plan your estate. Living wills and durable healthcare powers of attorney allow you to make advance decisions regarding life support and medical treatment.
- Maintain a smooth business flow.
If you own a small business, you may plan for a smooth transition by choosing what will happen to your ownership stake.
Overall, a proper estate plan may provide you peace of mind by protecting and providing for your loved ones.
What are the main estate planning documents?
- ONE’S FINAL WILL AND TESTAMENT
A final will is perhaps the first thing that usually comes to mind when thinking about estate preparation. Some call it a will.
Keep in mind that a probate court monitors the administration of your Last Will and Testament. As such, it’s critical to start preparing early and to make sure that your will is legally valid.
- A POWER OF ATTORNEY DOCUMENT
This comprehensive estate plan will identify who should make financial decisions for you if you are unable to do so yourself. A Durable Power of Attorney is what it is called. Not surprisingly, many people overlook or entirely disregard this important estate paperwork.
- ADVANCED MEDICAL INSTRUCTIONS
It is also important to think about your medical decisions. In terminal illness, an Advance Medical Directive (including naming your healthcare agent and writing a Living Will) helps assist physicians and caregivers in making appropriate decisions.
- REVOCABLE TRUST
With a Revocable Living Trust, you may handle Trust assets in the case of incapacity or
death without having to go to court. A Will may be adequate depending on the amount and extent of your assets, your state of residency, and your distribution choices.
Typical Estate Planning Errors
4 Mistakes Most People Make In Estate Planning
- Lack of Planning
The worst blunder you can make with your Estate Plan is not taking the time to complete it.
- Not discussing with friends and family
Sure, there are exceptions, but try to speak with your friends and family whenever feasible.
- Choosing One Beneficiary
Any asset should have several beneficiaries. If a beneficiary dies before you, you need a dependent beneficiary.
- Ignoring Powers of Attorney and Healthcare Representative
Choosing a Power of Attorney (medical or financial) and/or a Healthcare Proxy is critical if you become disabled.
Helpful Tips when Estate Planning
- Do not rush
- Start your will early
- Be specific when transferring property
- Make sure you have your legal documents in order
- Have all assets appraised and valued
- Tell your family about all changes
- Choose the estate planning team you will work with
- Contact a knowledgeable attorney to set things straight for you.
Additionally, we recommend that you assemble all of your financial accounts and insurance policies into a secure location, such as a house fire-safe or bank safe deposit box. This includes mortgage deeds, vehicle titles, and any other paperwork your agents may want.
Having this information readily available enables your representatives to carry out your intentions precisely.
What does an estate attorney normally do?
They are knowledgeable about the estate administration and estate planning laws that govern how your estate is evaluated, distributed, and taxed after your death. Estate planning attorneys are experienced and licensed legal practitioners who specialize in estate planning. An estate planning attorney can accomplish the following tasks:
- Creating Wills and Trusts
- Choose your heirs
- Incorporate a durable power of attorney for financial matters and durable medical power of attorney for health care
- Whenever feasible, reduce or avoid inheritance taxes.
- Avoide probate court
- Prepare the necessary trusts to safeguard your assets, both for your benefit during your lifetime and for your beneficiaries after your death
- Estate planning attorneys charge flat fees when drafting legally binding papers like wills and durable powers of attorney. Still, they may also be hired on an hourly basis to assist in managing your estate, resolving disputes, and ensuring that your wishes are carried out as planned.
One can also hire an estate attorney to help navigate the probate court process for a recently deceased person’s estate. THe estate lawyer may sort assets in the deceased’s estate and determine how they can be properly transferred to avoid probate court entirely.
Looking for a reliable estate planning attorney in Tacoma, WA?
The advantages we had with estate planning and asset protection are numerous. They are all based on a single idea: reducing the number of people who need to be involved in your financial affairs and taking legal steps to prevent them from accessing your assets.
This is vital information for anyone who wants to protect their family and assets but hasn’t considered how estate planning fits into the picture. Estate planning is a complicated topic, as it has many aspects in today’s modern world. Before getting started on planning your estate, it’s advisable to talk to a competent estate planning lawyer, James Jones, at Jones Legacy Law Firm right away. We’ll work with you to set up a plan that fits your situation and goals.