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Why You Shouldn’t Leave Planning Your Estate for Tomorrow

An estate is a legal term used to describe everything you own; this can be vehicles, homes, furniture and/or wages. When you create an estate plan, you are drafting a document establishing how you would like your assets distributed after you pass away.

Any person, regardless of their financial situation, can and should create an estate plan. Not only will it provide you with peace of mind, it will also make the transfer of your assets easier for those who survive you.

Types of Estate Plans

There is more than one way to leave your assets behind. Listed below are popular options for organizing your affairs:

  1. Wills

Perhaps the most common form of estate planning, a will is a document that lists your wishes for personal matters, as well as for the distribution of your assets. It can be as detailed or sparse as you like, but it’s advised you make the document as clear as possible. While a valid will takes precedence over any state laws, it will not keep your estate completely out of probate.

  1. Revocable Trusts

A trust will keep your estate out of probate, as well as allow your private affairs to stay out of public court. The revocable trust allows distribution of assigned assets to your beneficiaries without going through the, oftentimes, lengthy process of court proceeding. With a revocable trust, you maintain control of your assets until you pass. You can change the beneficiaries at any time and your estate is unlikely to be subject to federal estate taxes (unless it exceeds $11.18 million).

  1. Irrevocable Trusts

If your estate exceeds $11.18 million, you can put your assets in an irrevocable trust. Once this type of trust is set up, you cannot change the terms or beneficiaries. Assets in an irrevocable trust are exempt from probate and any other possible valuations of your estate.

  1. Living Wills

A living will is a document entailing how you would like your affairs to be handled if you can no longer make those decisions for yourself. With a living will, you must name an agent to make healthcare decisions on your behalf in the event you become incapacitated.

You may have already vocalized these wishes to someone close to you, but if there is no documented record, the state could intervene and possibly handle things in a way you won’t like. You can also give another person power of attorney over your finances. This must be in writing and must be as clear as possible so the person you name understands your wishes.

Hire a Trusted Estate Planning Attorney to Help with Your Documents

It is always best to prepare for the unthinkable, and this includes creating a solid estate plan. At The Smith Willis Firm, our estate planning attorney will guide you through the entire process to ensure your wishes are carried out appropriately.

Contact our firm onlineor give us a call at (770) 766-5811 for a complimentary consultation.