Estate planning is an essential area of law that deals with a person’s need to protect their assets, ensure their legacies, and create financial opportunities for the next generation. It’s a good idea for individuals of all ages to begin the estate planning process so their assets are handled properly if they become incapacitated. Get the facts on the benefits of estate planning and how to begin the process today.
Why You Should Create an Estate Plan
Nearly everyone has an estate. Your estate consists of everything you own: your home, your car, checking and savings accounts, investments, and any other financial or monetary assets. This is why it’s in everyone’s best interest to create an estate plan so their assets are handled in accordance with their wishes when they pass away or become too incapacitated to communicate their wishes.
When a person passes away, their estate goes through probate. This happens whether or not the individual created an estate plan. During probate, assets are gathered, documented, and distributed to creditors and beneficiaries. Creating an estate plan can help ensure probate is an easier process for loved ones as it is clearly defined how your assets will be distributed. Without an estate plan, probate can present a considerable expense and source of stress for surviving family members.
What Does an Estate Plan Involve?
Basic estate planning involves naming beneficiaries in the event of your passing. A more detailed and helpful estate plan involves the following:
Including instructions for your care if you become ill or incapacitated before your passing
Naming a guardian and inheritance manager for any minor children
Providing for family members with special needs without disrupting needs-based governmental benefits
Providing for loved ones who may be irresponsible with money or who may need future protection from creditors or divorce
Including life insurance to provide for your family at the time of your death
Setting up funeral arrangements
Providing for the transfer of any business-related assets
Minimizing taxes, court costs, and unnecessary legal fees
How to Begin the Estate Planning Process
Because there is no way for us to know when we will become too incapacitated to communicate our wishes regarding our care and estate, it’s in our best interest to create an estate plan as soon as possible. If you do not create an estate plan, the state in which you live will divide your assets according to its intestate succession laws. This may not always be in accordance with your wishes.
Your first step to creating a properly executed estate plan is to contact a qualified estate planning attorney. Your attorney can help ensure everything is squared away properly so that your loved ones do not run into costly unforeseen issues. Even if you think you may be saving a few dollars by not hiring an estate planning attorney initially, your relatives may be forced to pay much more for this mistake when an issue arises in your estate plan that causes them to go through probate or miss out on assets they should have received.
Secondly, intestate succession laws vary by state, and an estate planning attorney will be knowledgeable in the laws relative to your state. This is a simple, yet often overlooked, detail that can end up saving your relatives from legal issues related to your estate down the line.
Need Help with an Estate Plan? Contact Us Today
At Upkins Law, we are well-versed in Tennessee intestate succession laws and we’re prepared to help you protect your estate. We can assist you with a variety of estate planning services including conservatorships, creating a General Durable Power of Attorney and Healthcare Power of Attorney, creating a legally sound Last Will and Testament, planning for end-of-life care, and more. Our singular focus is to identify your needs and help develop a constructive, strategic approach to handling your estate.
Contact us today at (615) 235-1991 to learn how we can assist you.