An estate is the property, money, assets of a person which includes a home, real estate, bank accounts, cars, household goods and personal possessions. Estate planning includes writing a Will, a trust, taking insurance and life insurance, making gifts, powers of attorney and health care directives depending on the person's wishes.
Estate Planning is not for the elderly, the rich and those with families, it is for everyone. It puts a plan in place of how the personal possessions, funds, assets and properties should be divided after death according to the wishes of the deceased. Estate Planning includes among other things writing a Will or a Living Trust. It is important to protect yourself because you can be incapacitated. You need to plan what will happen to you if you fall sick. You should have control of your finances and plan how you will receive medical and financial help during this time by giving health care and financial directives to your personal representative.
Estate planning ensures that the person leaving the estate to beneficiaries has control of what happens to the estate in the future when she/he dies. This should be written in a Will or Living Trust and an executor appointed to make sure that the estate is distributed as the deceased had wished. The Living Trust does not go through the probate period which is lengthy and costly.
There are professional estate attorneys, accountants and financial planners who can assist you with estate planning. There are trust companies who can execute your wishes or you can choose a family member or a close friend as the executor. You should discuss with them your goals and they will help devise a personalized plan for you. They are knowledgeable in state laws and federal laws which affect the estate. Planning will reduce the taxes charged which include estate taxes, inheritance taxes and gift taxes.
There are various planning software on the internet which can also help you if you want to do it on your own. Online estate planning is available and you will be guided how to do it and how to make it legal. This does not have to be complicated it can be simple and straight-forward.
Estate planning aims at allowing the person control and flexibility of benefiting from the estate when alive and leaving the beneficiaries the maximum possible wealth. It also encourages growth of the estate so the beneficiaries benefit even more.
Estate planning can become complex when you have adoptions, multiple marriages, dependants and other relatives who could claim a right on your estate or challenge your Will. It is important to appoint a guardian to protect your children especially if you are a single parent. You should list down the beneficiaries and how you are related to them, the assets and properties you have and how they are to be distributed, your debts and your wishes. You should sign powers of attorney for all your bank accounts and other finances.