When most people think of estate planning they think of the silver spoons that get passed along by people who spend their days playing tennis at the country club, sipping cocktails, and cruising their yachts. While it is true that estate planning involves the distribution of assets from one generation to the next, estate planning is much more than that. In fact, almost anyone can benefit from estate planning. This article briefly highlights ten of the most common benefits of basic estate planning.
1. Save time and money for your loved ones. If you become incapacitated or die without proper estate planning, your children, grandchildren, and other loved ones could be forced to spend significant amounts of time and money managing your healthcare and distributing your assets through the courts. Proper estate planning can allow you to make your own decisions in advance of incapacity or death, and could save thousands of dollars for your family and other loved ones.
2. Plan for incapacity. Estate planning is important because it enables you to decide how you will be cared for if you cannot care for yourself and how your assets will be managed if you cannot manage them yourself. For instance, an advance healthcare directive allows you to delegate a particular person to make healthcare decisions for you in the event you cannot make those decisions yourself. Similarly, a power of attorney for finances allows you to choose someone to manage your finances for you if you are unable to manage them yourself. If you become mentally incapacitated without proper estate planning in place, the courts will decide how to care for you and your money.
3. Protect your minor children. Minor children can also benefit from your estate planning. A properly drafted plan can determine, in advance of a tragedy, who will care for your children until they become adults, and how their expenses for food, shelter, and education will be paid. Without proper estate planning, a judge may make those decisions in a way you would never intend.
4. Reduce taxes. Properly drafted trusts can help reduce the estate tax your heirs will be required to pay in the event the value of your estate exceeds the federal estate tax exemption.
5. Provide for a disabled child. A special needs trust can help you plan for the care of a disable child after you are gone. Without proper planning, a disable child can lose government benefits that could be preserved with a properly drafted estate plan.
6. Ensure your assets get passed to the right person. Estate planning also allows you to decide how your assets will be distributed upon your death, and allows you to control who will receive those assets. Without proper estate planning, those decisions will be made by the courts, instead of your family.
7. Protect your children from their creditors. Do you have a son who likes, “fast women and slow horses?” Or, do you have a daughter with a substance abuse problem? Your own estate plan can allow you to control how and when your children will receive their inheritances, and can protect their inheritances from their creditors.
8. Prevent family fighting. When combined with open and honest communication among family members, a clearly drafted estate plan can avoid everything from hurt feelings to full blown probate litigation by disgruntled family members.
9. Contribute to your favorite charity. Giving to your favorite church, college, or other charity can help reduce your potential estate taxes will contributing to a good cause.
10. Protect your assets. Are you about to enter a new business relationship? Does your existing business face the risk of lawsuits? A properly timed estate plan can help protect your assets from creditors.
These are just several of the many benefits that can be derived from proper estate planning and asset protection planning. The Mascaro Law Firm offers a variety of estate planning solutions at reasonable prices, including wills, trusts, advance healthcare directives, and powers of attorney.
For more information, or to discuss your estate plan, please contact The Mascaro Law Firm at 714-544-0700 or email@example.com.