What Can An Estate Plan Do For You?

Estate Plans are a set of documents tailored to meet your goals for the future of yourself and your loved ones.

Your goals may be to plan for retirement, provide for your family, preserve your assets, donate to charity, minimize taxation, avoid probate, or designate guardians for your minor children if the unexpected happens. Estate planning can accomplish all of this and more, including:

• Selecting who will act as medical and financial agent in the event of your incapacity

• Minimizing or avoiding income taxes for your beneficiaries

• Protecting assets for the benefit of persons who are unable to manage their personal finances

• Deflecting possible will contests or claims by disgruntled heirs

• Anticipating any problem assets and providing for their disposition

• Planning for the future of your business

• And any other issues that might affect the well-being of the individual’s family or business

The lack of an up-to-date and effective estate plan can create an unnecessary financial and emotional burden on your surviving family. Some issues and consequences that frequently arise include:

• Making gifts directly to minor children instead of in trust can lead to more expensive court conservatorships

• Using joint tenancy or payable on death (POD) forms of ownership as will substitutes can create taxable gifts or provide beneficiaries with more control over your assets than intended

• Failing to plan for disgruntled heirs or potential creditors can trigger costly court battles and family feuds

• Neglecting to name guardians for minor children may cause costly litigation or result in unintended guardianship of the children

• Making outright gifts to incapacitated persons who are on Medicaid can, at least temporarily, make them ineligible for benefits

• Neglecting to address changes in marital status can lead to unintended disposition of your assets 

A complete estate plan will provide direction to your loved ones about your medical and financial goals in the event of incapacity and how your assets should be distributed after your passing. It can ease family member’s worries and prevent disputes. Your family will know what you want and how to carry out your wishes.

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7 Things An Estate Plan Can Do For You

Estate Plans are a set of documents tailored to meet your goals for the future of yourself and your loved ones. A properly drafted estate plan can accomplish your goals in a clear and straightforward manner.

You may want to provide for your family, donate to charity, avoid probate, or choose guardians for your minor children. Estate planning can do all this and allow you to:

  1. Choose who will act as medical and financial agent in the event of your incapacity
  2. Minimize or avoid income taxes for your beneficiaries
  3. Protect your assets for the benefit of persons who cannot manage their personal finances
  4. Deflect possible will contests or claims by disgruntled heirs
  5. Anticipate problem assets and provide for their disposition
  6. Plan for the future of your business
  7. Provide for loved ones who are not related by blood or marriage

Creating an estate plan tells your loved ones that you have thought about what you want and made a plan to carry out your wishes. Their job now is to simply follow your plan.