At some point, you must face an uncomfortable, harsh reality: Eventually, you will die.
When you pass, your property doesn’t go with you. Everything you own is part of your “estate.” It remains among the living, and someone must manage it. Estate planning is your way of managing that property now, while you can.
Even if you aren’t wealthy, you should plan for what should happen to your property after you are gone. Here are some reasons why.
Estate Planning Can Protect the People You Love
You may have people who rely on you, and those individuals could be in trouble after you are gone. Essentially, they could lose access to your money, leaving them destitute. Estate planning can put a financial plan in place, protecting those who need your resources to survive.
Without an estate plan, your property could go to the wrong people. “Intestate succession” allows courts to give pieces of your estate to your closest relatives. This could be a problem if, for instance, you are estranged from your mother and were raised by your aunt. A good estate plan ensures that the right people in your life can get what they deserve.
An estate plan can also protect your children. You can plan for who gets custody, keeping the state from making those choices.
Estate Planning Can Give the Right Things to the Right People
As we’ve mentioned, estate planning keeps your money from going to relatives who aren’t a part of your life. It can also make sure that everyone gets exactly what you want them to have.
You can be as general or specific as you wish. Your plan can make sure that your best friend receives one, sentimental item, or you can simply plan to give everything to your spouse.
Estate Planning Can Protect the Future of Your Property
If you possess high assets, you can make sure those assets grow, benefitting your family for generations.
Typically, the money you pass along in a will dries up by the third generation, even if there is a lot of it. A trust, however, acts like a living financial entity. It allows your estate to invest, buy and sell property, and more. You can elect a trustee to run the estate, and if the estate is large enough, being the trustee could be a full-time job.
Furthermore, a trust can put your beneficiaries on allowance. This can teach them to manage their money better, helping them build solid financial futures. If someone squanders their portion, the trustee could cut them off. The trustee could also build in stipulations with the money, such as requiring someone to maintain a full-time job to keep receiving their allowance.
Talk to a Trusted Attorney
Technically, you could write out your own will on a napkin if you want. Planning for your estate on your own is, however, ill-advised.
A good lawyer can help you write solid language which can make sure your wishes are appropriately followed. These documents must be clear and hard to misinterpret. Furthermore, your lawyer can see potential problems with your plan and help guide you to better alternatives.
Our firm is here to help with all your estate planning needs. For a free consultation, you can schedule time with us online or call us at (916) 299-3936.