Plan, Plan… Plan Some More.

What is estate planning?

According to google, estate planning is the act of preparing the transfer of a person’s wealth and assets after his or her death.

What does an estate entail?

Life insurance, assets, real estate, pensions, personal belongings, cars, and debts.

The Myth:

Estate planning is for retired people, or people believe they’re not old enough, they don’t own enough, or they’re too busy, or just can’t be bothered.

The Reality:

People are confused, they are unaware of their possible resources, and they won’t use google. Incidents happen, and pledging ignorance will result in family and friends picking up the pieces in the aftermath. Good estate planning will resolve this, and give you peace of mind knowing you are going to help make the transition of your death a little easier.

The Facts:

Everyone has an estate, no matter how small or large. While some may think that estate planning is for the affluent, it’s really for everyone—for there’s one thing everyone has in common, you can’t take it with you when you die. Death is inevitable, and in the aftermath of it a person obviously does not have control over his or her assets, unless there are documents executing your wishes. This entails leaving behind guidelines regarding who receives what from your assets, and when they will receive it. While a will covers funeral instructions, and expresses who will receive money or property. This legal document will not cover the issue of estate taxes. Without appropriate estate planning, spouses, relatives and friends can spend a lifetime fighting over your assets. Without estate plan at your death, your assets will be distributed according to the probate laws of your state. This means control goes over to the courts, and this means public exposure for your family in a time that should be for mourning. Their privacy and comfort is paramount. Detailed planning is a solution to spouses and relatives being able to receive their inheritances without this hindrance.

Install a Trust:

The other alternative to a will is a living trust, which can avoid probate laws at your death. A living trust is valid in any state, allows all of your assets to go together in one plan, and provides privacy that the courts will not allow. A living trust is more expensive than a will, but allows you more freedom, and does not dissolve upon your death.

There are many details to consider when estate planning, to make the process a bit easier, a living trust also allows you to install a trustee—the person acting on behalf of the deceased. The trustee acts according to the terms of the trust, distributing assets immediately. The trustee is a third party that will see your instructions carried out, and gives your family and friends the privacy they deserve.

A trust is not for everyone, nor does it have to extensive or expensive. Planning now prepares you for tomorrow, it’s the considerate thing to do and it gives you and your family peace of mind.

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