Your estate consists of everything you own: your car, home, other real estate, checking and savings accounts, investments, life insurance, furniture and personal possessions. The only thing for sure is that you can’t take any of it with you.
The purpose of estate planning is to ensure that your assets go to the people and organizations you choose with minimal distress to them. Because your life is constantly changing, estate planning is an ongoing process. If you don’t have an estate plan at your death, the state will provide one that neither you nor your heirs will like.
An estate plan should encompass many issues that might not be apparent to you right now, such as:
- instructions for your care and financial affairs if you become incapacitated before you die
- long-term care insurance
- life insurance
- transfer of your business at your retirement, disability, incapacity or death
- naming a guardian for your minor children’s care and inheritance
- providing for family members with special needs without disqualifying them from government benefits
- providing for loved ones who might be irresponsible with money, need protection from creditors or undergo divorce
- minimizing taxes, court costs and unnecessary legal fees, which may include funding assets into a living trust, updating beneficiary designations and otherwise aligning your assets with your estate plan
Since many of these are legal and accounting issues, we are happy to collaborate with your estate attorney and tax accountant to structure an estate plan that will give you the peace of mind of knowing your loved ones will be provided for and your assets will be clearly distributed.