Estate planning isn’t only for the wealthy. No matter your age, your health, or your wealth, you and your loved ones can benefit from a carefully drafted estate plan. You can make sure your assets are protected and your wishes carried out exactly as you see fit when you pass on, or if you are incapacitated in any way. Without a plan in place, everything you have worked so hard to achieve could be left to the vultures and your loved ones could face stressful and costly legal proceedings.
Estate planning can offer six essential benefits:
- You can decide who gets what. If you pass on without a will, the courts will determine how to distribute your assets. This will not be based on your wishes. It will be based on state law. The only way to ensure your wishes are carried out is through a legally sound Last Will and Testament. Your will can be as detailed as you want, addressing individual items and even including stipulations to address any current situations or circumstances. You can also protect assets for family members or charities through trusts.
- You can protect your right to make decisions regarding your end-of-life care. In the event that you are gravely injured or ill, you may have specific decisions that you want to be made regarding your end-of-life care, including organ donation and a do-not-resuscitate (DNR) order. You may also have a person you would like to make healthcare decisions on your behalf. This can all be addressed in the estate planning process.
- You can name a person to make decisions on your behalf if you become incapacitated. If you become mentally or physically incapacitated and unable to make decisions for yourself, you can name a person or persons to make financial, medical, or other decisions on your behalf through a Power of Attorney. This holds the selected individual to a certain standard of care when making decisions for you. Such decisions may be broad or limited in scope depending on your needs and desires.
- You can name a guardian for your child or children in the event of your untimely death. Instead of allowing state law to determine who will care for your minor child or children if you pass on, you can name a person you trust to be the guardian of your child or children.
- Estate planning can minimize taxes. A viable estate plan can protect your hard-earned assets from estate taxes, creditors, and lawsuits. This is typically done through the establishment of one or more trusts. Trusts can minimize taxes and avoid costly, time-consuming probate proceedings.
- Estate planning reduces the chances of disputes and legal battles between your loved ones. By clearly defining your wishes, estate planning can prevent disputes between surviving family members regarding who should manage your estate, who should receive which assets or property, and more. You can help your family avoid a considerable amount of stress and strife through a clear and legally sound estate plan.
Protect your assets, provide for your loved ones, and make sure your wishes are carried out exactly as you see fit with a complete, personalized estate plan. Nashville estate planning lawyer Ashley Upkins can provide the competent legal counsel you need in this important process.
At Upkins Law, we believe in simplifying estate planning for our clients so they can achieve their goals. Call (615) 235-1991 to learn more!