As we all know, death is inevitable. No one knows when their time will come, which is why it’s important to plan for the future. estate planning attorney orange county may seem like a daunting task, but it’s actually quite simple. By taking the time to plan now, you can ensure that your loved ones are taken care of after you’re gone. Here are four reasons why estate planning is essential:
- To protect your loved ones.
Your estate planning documents will dictate what happens to your assets after you die. Without a plan in place, your family may have to go through the costly and time-consuming probate process. An estate planning attorney can help you create a plan that will avoid probate and make things easier for your loved ones.
- To make sure your wishes are carried out.
If you don’t have an estate plan, the court will decide how your assets will be distributed after you die. This means that your wishes may not be carried out. By creating a plan, you can ensure that your assets are distributed according to your wishes.
- To save money in the long run.
Estate planning can actually save you and your family money in the long run. Without a plan, your loved ones may have to pay taxes on your estate. An estate planning attorney can help you create a plan that will minimize taxes and other expenses.
- To give you peace of mind.
Estate planning can give you peace of mind knowing that your loved ones will be taken care of after you’re gone. This is one of the most important reasons to create a plan.
If you don’t have an estate plan, now is the time to create one. An estate planning attorney can help you create a plan that meets your unique needs. Contact an estate planning attorney today to get started.
Estate planning goes beyond a will
Many people think of a will and an estate plan as the same thing. They’re not.
Both will and estate plans provide instructions for how your goods and assets should be handled after your death, but estate planning encompasses much more. It can also include:
- Durable powers of attorney to appoint individuals to make medical and/or financial decisions on your behalf you’re unable to provide instructions yourself
- Medical directives to outline the kinds of medical treatment you want (or don’t want) if you become incapacitated
- Beneficiary designations to explain who should receive money from life insurance policies, annuities, retirement accounts, and other financial accounts
- One or more trusts to facilitate passing property to your heirs and potentially provide tax benefits for both you and your beneficiaries
Estate planning is a process, not a one-time event
Once you’ve created your initial estate plan, it’s important to review and update it periodically. You should review your plans:
After any major life changes, such as getting married, having children, or buying a home
If there are changes in the tax laws that could affect your estate
Whenever there are changes in your financial situation
As you get older, you may want to consider adding long-term care insurance to your estate plan. This type of insurance can help pay for nursing home care or in-home care if you need it.
Estate planning is an important part of taking care of yourself and your loved ones. By creating a plan now, you can ensure that your wishes are carried out and your loved ones are taken care of after you’re gone.
Estate planning saves time and money
When you die without a will, this means you have died “intestate,” and the laws of the state where you live and own property determines what happens to your assets and who gives them away. The probate court will name a representative to distribute your assets. In many cases, the surviving spouse gets the job. If you don’t have a surviving spouse and no other close family member is willing or able to do the job, the court will name a public trustee to distribute your assets according to state law.
The probate process can be time-consuming and expensive. It’s often a good idea to hire an attorney to help you with the process. Probate attorneys typically charge by the hour, so the total cost will depend on how much work is involved in your particular case.
Estate planning can save your family money and stress
Estate planning can save your family money and stress by making sure your wishes are carried out and providing for your loved ones after you’re gone. If you don’t have an estate plan, now is the time to create one. An estate planning attorney can help you create a plan that meets your unique needs. Contact an estate planning attorney today to get started.
Estate planning avoids big taxes
One reason estate planning is often associated with the super-rich: estate taxes. The estate tax is a tax on the transfer of property at death. It’s levied by the federal government and some states.
For federal estate tax purposes, the estate includes all property owned by the person at death, including real estate, personal belongings, stocks, and bonds. The value of the estate is determined as of the date of death (or an alternate valuation date six months later, if elected by the executor).
The first $11.4 million of an individual’s estate is exempt from estate taxes in 2019. This means that only estates valued at more than $11.4 million are subject to federal estate taxes. The estate tax rate ranges from 18% to 40%, depending on the value of the estate.
In addition to the federal estate tax, some states have their own estate taxes. The rules and exempt amounts vary from state to state.
Estate planning can help you minimize or avoid estate taxes by taking advantage of available exemptions and deductions. An experienced estate planning attorney can help you determine what strategies are best for your situation.
Estate planning protects your assets during your lifetime
In addition to helping you plan for the transfer of your assets at death, estate planning can also help you protect your assets during your lifetime. This is especially important if you become incapacitated and are unable to make decisions about your finances or medical care.
A well-designed estate plan can help you:
Maintain control over your assets: You can use estate planning tools, such as trusts, to maintain control over your assets and ensure they are used the way you want.
Protect your assets from creditors: If you’re concerned about your liability for debts or lawsuits, you can use estate planning tools to protect your assets. For example, you can place your assets in a trust or create a “spendthrift” provision in your will that prevents creditors from seizing them.
conserve your assets for long-term care: Long-term care costs can eat up a large portion of your assets. You may be able to use estate planning techniques, such as Medicaid planning, to protect your assets and ensure they’re available to pay for long-term care costs.
Estate planning can be complex, and the best way to ensure your assets are protected is to work with an experienced estate planning attorney. Contact an estate planning attorney santa ana today to get started.