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What is estate planning?
Your estate is comprised of the assets you own—your car, home, bank accounts, investments, life insurance, furniture and personal belongings. No matter how large or how small your estate, you can’t take it with you when you die, and you probably want certain people to have certain things you own. You need to provide written instructions stating who you want to receive your assets and belongings, what you want them to receive, and when they are to receive it—that is the essence of an estate plan.
A properly prepared estate plan also will have instructions for your care if you become incapacitated, even for a short time, due to illness or injury. Without the proper documents in place, your family will have to ask the court for permission to use your assets to take care of you and to oversee your care. That process is out of your control and it takes time and costs money, making an already difficult situation even more difficult for your family.
Why do i need it?
So even if you wouldn’t ordinarily consider yourself the owner of an estate, it’s quite likely that you are. The answer to the question “I don’t have an estate. Do I really need an estate plan?” is, “Yes, virtually everyone who owns property could benefit from estate planning.” And estate planning covers more than just property, too: It’s also about ensuring someone you trust can make critical medical decisions for you if you’re unable to do so.
4 key advantages of estate planning:
- It allows you to remain in complete control of your property while you’re still alive and well.
- It helps you provide for yourself and your loved ones if you become incapacitated or disabled - without expensive and distracting court hearings.
- It minimizes the impact of professional fees, court costs, and taxes.
- It provides a framework so you can give what you have to whom you want, the way you want, when you want.
What is the difference between a will and a trust?
If you die with a valid will, your accounts and property will still go through the probate process. However, after creditors have been paid, the remaining accounts and property will go to whom you have named in yourwill.