Estate planning is important for everyone, not just the wealthy. You don’t need hundreds of acres of land with a mansion and five luxury cars in the garage to need an estate plan. That isn’t the typical estate.
Nearly everyone has an estate. Actually, when you start thinking about all you’ve built and acquired throughout life, you probably have more than you think. Your estate could include a house (or houses), car, money in the bank, investments, life insurance, and your personal possessions.
You need a plan for how to handle that estate when you’re gone. Your spouse, partner, or other loved ones should have a plan, too. It can help relieve some of the stress of dealing with “official” matters while in mourning.
But how do you plan for the inevitable? What should you include in your estate plan, who do you include, how do you make it legal, and how do you make sure your wishes get enforced? Those are great questions that a qualified attorney can answer, including our team at Kagan Law Firm.
Some people think they can do it themselves. That’s a bad idea for so many reasons. You may know someone who used a ready-made template they found on the Internet, and they think they are all set. That’s like hiring someone for legal help because they played a lawyer on tv. Or, to use another tv commercial reference, you aren’t a legal expert just because “I stayed at a Holiday Inn Express last night.”
Don’t leave your estate planning up to just anyone. Too many things can go wrong. Something so important needs to be handled by a qualified estate planning attorney.
An attorney will be able to guide you through the planning process and help set up whatever is best for your situation. Everyone is different so you need an individual plan. And you need to make sure you update your plan as circumstances change.
If you don’t plan, it can make it difficult for your family to keep or sell your house, take possession of your belongings, or access your money. If there is no will or trust in place when someone passes away, it’s called intestate succession. The state decides how an individual’s assets should be distributed based on certain criteria. Probate is the legal process that’s required to distribute property after someone dies.
By having a will, trust, or other legal document, there will be explicit instructions for your estate. The executor (the person who handles the details of probate) needs to file court papers requesting permission from the judge to sell or manage any property.
A will is a legal document that designates how you want your property distributed after your death. A trust is a way to control how money is used after you pass away. A trust can be created for the benefit of others such as family members. For example, a grandparent may create a trust to help pay for their grandchildren’s education.
If you are ready to start estate planning, our attorneys will work to develop the best plan possible. We know these can be tough conversations but you’ll find our team is caring and compassionate. We will make sure you understand all your options and help ensure your final wishes are followed. Call (239) 466-1161 to schedule an appointment.