What is an estate plan?
Estate plans range from a simple will to complex trust arrangements that govern the transfer of various assets from multiple sources.
While estate-planning arrangements can accomplish nearly limitless things, they all have one thing in common: they all let you determine where your stuff goes without the court dividing it up for you.
Are estate plans for the wealthy?
Most people have this idea that estate plans are an elaborate system used by the super-wealthy to protect their money and assets and plan around tax liabilities.
Estate planning is used for these things, but it can also be important to people who don’t put themselves in that category.
What can estate plans help with – other than money?
Everyone can benefit from an estate plan because of the peace of mind that their property will be dealt with in the way that seems most appropriate to them, according to their needs and wishes. These might be for financial reasons, but it can also be for non-financial purposes, like making sure specific items of sentimental value go to certain loved ones.
Another common use of estate planning is to plan for the care of minor or dependent children. For example, parents might create a will with a testamentary trust to pay for the upbringing of your children; have durable powers of attorney for both parents; have durable powers of attorney for the care of the children; and a living will.
How can my estate plan help support a cause that’s important to me?
Some people want their money or property to go to loved ones, and others want to donate to a cause that means a lot to them. For example, you can leave large pieces of property (like a home or vehicle) to a nonprofit organization of your choice, and the organization can use the property or sell it.
Do estate plans include what kind of arrangements I want for the end of my life?
Your desires regarding funeral arrangements can be included in your estate-planning documents. When it comes to elder law planning – for the care you might receive toward the end of your life, like in-home care or a nursing facility – this is related to your estate planning and can be completed alongside your estate plans.
What happens when you die without having an estate plan in place?
If you die without a plan, the state has one for you. It’s called intestate succession, and – through the court system – the state gets to determine who gets your assets and how much each person gets. Your wishes would have no bearing on where your assets go.
There is another option. With an estate plan in effect, the intestate succession rules no longer apply. The assets you leave behind can go where you want them to go.
You’ve worked hard to get what you have, and you deserve to have control of what happens to it.
Harvest Legal serves clients with diverse legal needs, including business and estate-planning matters. To learn more – including how to get an estate plan – visit www.harvestemporia.com or call 620-263-0391.