You have probably heard people saying that you need an estate plan. Perhaps your grown children are urging you to consider more comprehensive preparation for the end of your life, but you are not quite convinced that it is worth the trouble to make a plan.
Everyone has a different tipping point. Some may understand the value of an estate plan after hearing about a celebrity whose estate was squandered because he left no will or trust. Others may have first-hand experience following the death of a parent or loved one whose family erupted in legal disputes related to the deceased's unplanned estate. For you, perhaps a clearer understanding of the benefits of creating an estate plan will be enough to convince you of its merits.
Financial benefits of planning your estate
The documents you prepare related to your assets can go a long way toward minimizing the burdens your family may face. Probate and estate administration can be costly and long, delaying the distribution of the inheritance you plan to leave for your children. Without a will or trust, your Texas estate may drag through probate for a year or more, allowing time for disputes to arise and your assets to dwindle. With a will, your estate will still need probate. However, trusts bypass the probate process.
If your estate is considerable, your heirs will also deal with a federal estate tax. Careful estate planning can minimize the negative effects such a tax can have on your loved ones' inheritance.
Undoubtedly, you wish to provide for the particular needs of your loved ones through your estate plan. You can set up a trust for any children who are still minors at the time of your passing. Trusts can also provide assistance to those with special needs without jeopardizing their eligibility for government benefits. You may also wish to establish an education trust for a child or grandchild. You can even create a trust for an adult child who is likely to poorly manage an inheritance or who struggles with addiction.
With solid legal advice, your estate plan can benefit you as well. Trusts can protect your assets from any lawsuits that may arise in the future. One of the most important parts of a complete estate plan is a power of attorney or health care proxy designation to ensure your medical wishes are followed if you should become unable to express them.
As you can see, an estate plan is more than simply designating who will receive your belongings. Seeking experienced legal assistance is the first step to creating an estate plan that will be a testament to your foresight and your love for your family.