Estate planning is all about making plans in advance of whom you want to receive the things you own when you die. It helps in eliminating uncertainties on who will head your estate once you are gone or unable to make decisions.
Estate planning includes the inheritance of possessions to beneficiaries and the settlement of estate taxes. Some of the assets that make up an individual’s estate include things like houses, cars, pensions, life insurance, and stock.
There are many reasons why you need to plan your estate. The most important one is to preserve the family wealth. Normally, most estate plans will be set up with the help of an attorney. During my search, I came across LegalZoom, a topnotch place with vetted attorneys who will help you get any legal help in planning your estate.
Other reasons why you would want to plan your estates is to ensure that there is funding for the education of your children and provide for the surviving spouse. Here are four ways you can use legal advice to plan your estate:
1) Creating Your Last Will
An estate plan begins with you creating a will. The last will is a written legal document with the help of an attorney that clearly states how you would like your property and possessions distributed after your death.
Some people decide that after they are dead, their wealth should be distributed to their family members, others friends, others charity organizations and others to their pets. The choice is yours. Since we cannot predict how long we will live and accidents and illness come our way in the most unpredicted times, it is better to have your estate plan as early as possible. The last thing you want is your family members fighting for your wealth. Once you have created your will, there will need to appoint an executor who will ensure your specifications and stated intentions are fulfilled.
2) Setting Up A Living Trust
A living trust is one of the most flexible estates planning method available. This is selecting a trustee after writing a will who will ensure that your will is followed once you die. The trust can go to an effect during your lifetime or after your death.
There is also the option of having a recoverable living trust whose terms can be changed at any time. The advantages of having a living trust are that it can make your estate avoid probate in court. This will ensure a fast distribution of your assets to your beneficiaries. Avoiding probate court ensures your privacy and also helps in avoiding certain estate taxes.
3) Create the Financial Power of Attorney
A financial power of attorney documents that you create and allows you to designate a person to manage the affairs of your estate. This includes granting the appointed person powers to make financial decisions for you if you are not able to manage them yourself.
You will choose when the appointment goes into effect. It can be in the future, immediately or under certain circumstances all which will be documented.
4) Crafting A Living Will
One of the ways to use legal advice to plan your estate is by getting help in making a living will. This is a health care substitute that ensures that regarding your health status, your wishes are followed in the event you become terminally ill. In this, you will need a health care attorney who will carry out your wishes in your living will.