For those planning for or nearing the twilight years of their lives, estate planning will (at some point) come into consideration. An estate is comprised of everything you own. This includes things like personal property, insurance, investments, etc. Regardless of how much you own, you can’t take it with you when the time comes, so making sure to plan out its distribution is a must. Although estate planning may be a complicated task, a well-developed plan can potentially make a large difference in what is left to the people you care most deeply about. Without an appropriate plan, friends and relatives can spend a significant amount of time and money fighting over the distribution of assets left by a decedent (dead person).
In terms of a simple definition, estate planning is defined as preparation for the transfer of one’s wealth and assets post-mortem. This process involves the writing, signing, and notarization of plans by the person who owns the estate. Although conventional wisdom may say otherwise, a will simply isn’t enough to guarantee one’s wishes when looking to distribute their assets. Though the procedure known as probate, a judge will interpret a will and allow for the transfer of money and property to written beneficiaries. However, due to the nature of this procedure, it may be possible for relatives or third parties to contest the will and make the transfer process far more complex and lengthy. Also, fees for probate can cost thousands of dollars, making it more difficult for beneficiaries to continue with the legal process.
Things to consider when thinking of estate planning:
- Estate planning is for everyone, not just the wealthy
- An estate plan starts with a will or living trust
- Not enough people plan due to business, stigma, age, etc.
- The best time to plan is now; preparation is key
It’s also important to consider working with an attorney or tax advisor on your plan as they will provide essential guidance through the estate planning process (especially with it comes to documentation). While you make the key decisions when it comes to distribution, an estate planning lawyer in Arlington, TX can help you through some of the more complex interactions involving your options. This way you can avoid mistakes, minimize taxes and help levy your plans to your current circumstance.
If there’s anything to take from this, it should be that estate planning, although a lengthy and complex process, is a necessary step towards making sure that your loved ones are the ones who receive the assets you have gained throughout your time contributing to the economic landscape.
Thanks to Brandy Austin Law Firm, PLLC for their insight into estate planning and the basics you need to know.