Estate planning is a necessary process that everyone should undertake. You can ensure your assets are distributed according to your wishes and that your loved ones are taken care of by creating an estate plan. This topic may seem morbid to think about, but it’s essential to have a plan in place so that your loved ones don’t have to worry about it later on.
In this article, we will discuss how estate planning can help you achieve your goals.
What Is The Difference Between A Will And An Estate Plan?
Many people draw up a will and think they have completed their planning. However, having a will and having an estate plan are two different things.
A will is a legal document that dictates guardianship of your minor children and distribution of your belongings upon your death.
An estate plan is more detailed. It includes your will, but it also involves trusts, power of attorney, healthcare directives, and more. Basically, it determines how your assets will be managed upon your death or incapacitation.
Estate Planning Objectives
There are four main objectives when preparing an estate plan:
- Protect your beneficiaries
If you die without a will, the court will decide how to disburse your assets. An estate plan allows you to designate who receives what. It also prevents long, drawn-out court battles between family members, which could become expensive and lead to family turmoil.
- Protect your children
In a perfect world, you will live long enough to watch your children and grandchildren grow up. Nobody expects to die young. However, an essential part of an estate plan is preparing for the event that both you and your spouse may die while your children are still minors. You will want to ensure that your children are provided for, both financially and in terms of legal guardianship.
- Protect your loved ones from significant tax liabilities
Estate planning allows you to manage your assets to minimize federal inheritance taxes while you are alive.
- Protect yourself
An estate plan will give you the opportunity to discuss naming a Power of Attorney and how someone will manage your assets in the event you become incapacitated. You can also arrange for a Living Will to discuss advance directives and name a health care proxy to make medical decisions if you cannot do so.
How to Get Started on Your Estate Plan
It can be overwhelming to try to figure out everything on your own. As with any legal document, it is important to consult with an attorney when creating an estate plan. Your attorney can help you create a plan that meets your specific needs.
If you live in northern California, contact one of the Estate Planning Attorneys at Lonich Patton Ehrlich Policastri. Our legal team has years of experience helping people with estate planning and making the crucial decisions regarding their assets. Call us at 408-553-0801 to schedule a free consultation.