Estate planning is the process of establishing a written testament for how your assets should be treated once you are deceased. The treatment of your estate includes specifics like ownership and even custody if you have underage children. Your estate planning attorney can help you draft a plan that works for your specific situation.
Most estate plans include all of the following items:
- A durable power of attorney
- Beneficiary designations
- Letter of intent
- Healthcare power of attorney
- Guardianship designations
5 Reasons You Need an Estate Plan
An estate plan is an invaluable legal tool that can help you remove the ambiguity surrounding your final wishes for your estate. There are many reasons why people decide they’re ready to begin drafting their estate plan; here are the top reasons:
- Avoid Probate: Probate is the legal process where the court system validates wills. A decedent's assets are evaluated, and their final bills and taxes are paid. The remaining funds are distributed to their beneficiaries. Avoiding probate is the most common reason people eventually create an estate plan and will. Most people are unfamiliar with the probate process, but many have heard horror stories in the media or from friends and coworkers. For most people, avoiding probate can be easily achieved with a simple visit to your attorney to get your estate plan drafted.
- Limited Estate Tax Liability: Many people are motivated by the threat of a large looming tax bill. Without preparation, families could face significant loss of inherited property due to state and federal estate tax bills. Families can avoid most of the most burdensome taxes with some basic estate planning. Married couples may be able to reduce most of their tax liability by working with an estate planning attorney to set up trust accounts as part of their wills or revocable living trusts. There are many advanced estate planning tools available to married couples and individuals to provide tax relief for estate or inheritance tax bills.
- Prevent Negative Outcomes: For those with large estates, there is a desire to protect minor beneficiaries from large inheritances that could bring unintended negative consequences. Some adult estate planners worry their beneficiaries may be corrupted by a large windfall and fall victim to bad decisions and negative influences. An estate plan can also provide clarity for minors who will need a guardian or conservator to help oversee their financial interest until they reach an age of majority.
- Avoid Family Drama: Many people drafting end-of-life documents are hoping they can avoid family disagreements over assets and property. It can be costly and timely if family members decide to challenge a will if they disagree over the terms. Early planning and transparency can help remove the last-minute legal fights sometimes seen when a will is presented after death. Family members can draft their wills and share them with other members to ensure everyone is on the same page.
Contact Our Elk Grove Estate Planning Lawyers
Planning for how your estate will be distributed to your loved ones following your passing is a sensitive issue. When you turn to Samra Dhillon & Associates, you can work with a team of compassionate legal professionals who do not take these matters lightly and always have your best interests in mind. Rely on us to help you create an estate plan that is right for you and your family. Call us at (916) 571-1550 to schedule a consultation today.