What is Estate Planning?
by Michael Schulz, Associate Attorney
Did you know you have an estate?
Almost everyone does! Your estate includes the things that you own such as your home, car, personal belongings, bank accounts, life insurance and more. Upon the event of your death, an estate plan will help those who are taking care of your arrangements follow through with your wishes.
Create a Will or Trust
A Will provides the instructions for your estate and lists the beneficiaries of your assets. Within a Will, your assets are required to go through your state’s probate process. The court system sets the framework for the distribution of your assets based on your wishes. Typically, this process can take a few months to a couple years depending on the complexity of your estate. On the other hand, a Trust avoids the probate process while also listing the beneficiaries of your estate. Additionally, a Trust can remain valid long after your death, when managed by a Trustee, for future wishes of your assets such as taking care of a loved one or providing for future generations. Everyone’s needs for their estate will be different, so a personalized plan is the best option. Consult your attorney for advice as to which option is best for you and your estate needs.
Estate planning will organize your records, ensure your assets have accurate information and update your beneficiary designations. It is likely that only YOU know the information about your assets, where the information is and how to access it. The estate planning process is a great way to collect your information from inside of your head and put it in all one spot so there is no confusion for your loved one. Honest mistakes and outdated information can become a big problem for your beneficiaries and may end up under the supervision of the state. Inaction could leave you with no input as to where your assets and minor children go at the time of your passing.
Going through the estate planning process is very important, so do not delay! If you do not have an estate plan completed upon your death or incapacity, your estate follows the standard process and beneficiary flow chart that your state applies. While it is the standard, you may not like your assets to be managed in that manner. Thus, it is critical that you control the future of your estate with a complete and up-to-date estate plan.
All in all, an updated estate plan should give you peace of mind that your loved ones will be protected after your death. Call Russell Law Offices, S.C. to schedule your estate planning consultation today.
Russell Law Offices, S.C. has created a FREE downloadable Estate Planning Checklist to help prepare you for the Estate Planning Process. Click the button below to download now!