Estate planning is the processes of anticipating and arranging for the distribution of an Estate. Your estate is anything you own including: physical assets, intellectual property, investments, vehicles, business interests, real estate, and more.
The estate planning process is how we help clients minimize or plan for various uncertainties over the administration of their estate while maximizing the of what they will be able to pass on to their heirs. Essentially, reducing potential taxes, court costs, and many other foreseeable expenses.
Planning ahead for how to manage your estate in life, and in passing has several benefits. We’ll discuss briefly in this article how both Wills and Trusts (two different tools of estate planning) benefit you and your family and protect your estate.
Estate Planning Starts with a Last Will & Testament
A Last Will and Testament is perhaps the most well-known part of any estate plan. A will is necessary as it helps in making a decision on which your property goes to when you pass on. In addition to providing for the transfer of assets, you can also us a will to name Guardians for your children.
As you consider drafting a Will, you will need to think about the Executor. The Executor will be the person you would like to handle the process of carrying out your will (and working through probate).
If you would like to know more about Wills prior to contacting us, here is a more in-depth discussion on Estate Planning with Wills.
You Can Also Create a Trust
Another way to protect your assets in your estate plan is via a trust. A trust is a tool you place all your assets into and then become the beneficiary of it. When you pass away, the trustee (person who has authority to manage your trust) distributes your property per your directions.
Here’s why trusts are so valuable to your estate planning. Trust assets do not have to pass through the probate process for the property to be transferred to the people you love. By skipping probate, you avoid a public court process. Where a will becomes a public document, open for others to look through, and even fight over, the assets and contents of a trust are more confidential. A well-crafted trust will likely save your family thousands in probate fees and potential legal costs from infighting.
Here is a short article breaking down the difference between the types of trusts, including:
- Trusts for Minors
- Special Needs Trusts
- Marital Trusts
- Revocable Living Trusts
- Irrevocable life insurance trusts
- Spendthrift trusts
- And more…
Get Help with a Will, Trust, Or Both!
Wills & Trusts are both essential estate planning tools. They can get to be quite complex however. If you are actively looking into planning for your own future, and for the future of your family, then engaging the services of a highly rated and local estate planning law firm is your best bet.
We would love to help you craft the perfect estate plan. Contact us today to setup your estate planning appointment.