Estate planning is one of the most important steps you can take to make sure that your assets will be squared away, your loved ones will be taken care of, and your final wishes will be honored if you should pass away.
Your estate consists of all the assets you own, including:
- Real estate
- Bank accounts
- Stocks and other securities
- Life insurance policies
- Personal property such as automobiles, jewelry, and artwork.
Though often overlooked or put off in favor of more immediate concerns, a comprehensive estate plan can resolve a number of legal questions that arise whenever anyone dies:
- What is the overall state of your financial affairs?
- What real and personal property do you own?
- Who gets what?
- Will a personal guardian be appointed to care for minor children?
- How much tax will need to be paid in order to transfer property ownership?
- What funeral arrangements are appropriate?
How Can an Estate Plan Help?
Whether you want to give money or other assets to loved ones as gifts now, or designate the transfer of your assets to beneficiaries upon your passing, you will need to consider the effect of federal and state taxes on your gifts.
With estate planning, you can minimize the amount of taxes that will have to be paid with the transfer. You can also make sure that the taxes are taken care of ahead of time, so your loved ones can receive the full benefit and value you intend for them to receive.
Without careful planning, the probate process (the distribution of your assets upon your passing) can be complex, expensive, and time-consuming. Planning tools like living trusts and “payable on deceased” bank accounts will help the process go more smoothly, and ease the potential burden on your loved ones.
Regardless of your age, or the size and complexity of your estate, an estate plan can:
- Identify the family members and other loved ones who will inherit your property after your passing.
- Ensure that your property will be transferred as quickly and with as few legal hurdles as possible.
- Ensure that all your transfer taxes are paid.
- Avoid the time and costs associated with the probate process .
- Dictate the kinds of life-prolonging medical care you want to receive should you be unable to make your wishes known when the time comes.
- Clarify the kind of funeral arrangements you would like, and how related expenses will be paid.
Contact us today to find out how Estate Planning can benefit you.