Although you may think that estate planning is only for older Americans or those who are financially well-off, the fact is that you should take the time to establish a comprehensive estate plan at any age. Here are the most important reasons why you should have an estate plan to protect yourself, your loved ones, and the assets that you have worked so hard for throughout your life.
- If you don’t have an estate plan when you pass away, the state of California will make those decisions for you. When a person dies without a will, state law dictates who gets your property, even if you didn’t intend for your property to be distributed that way. If you want to have a say as to how your property is divided among your family members, friends, and charities, then you must have a legally valid will in place at the time of your death.
- Probating an estate is costly and time-consuming for your loved ones. According to state law, if you die without a will, the probate court will supervise the distribution of your property or estate. This can result in attorney’s fees, court costs, and other fees that are likely to decrease the remaining assets available to your heirs. Probate also can be a lengthy process that takes months or even years to finish.
- You might be able to avoid estate taxes with an estate plan in place. If the gross value of your estate is more than $11,700,000 (or $23,400,000 for married couples), your estate will owe estate taxes, which can be very expensive and quickly diminish the value of your estate. You might be able to avoid paying estate taxes if you have a carefully structured estate plan.
- You might not want a close family member to inherit your property. In some cases, you may want to eliminate a close family member from inheriting your property or place restrictions on the inheritance that the person will receive. For instance, your will might prevent a child from inheriting funds from you until he turns a certain age or require that he receive his inheritance in installments over time. You can achieve these goals with an estate plan.
- You might be able to avoid the probate process altogether. As stated above, probate can be a costly and lengthy process. With careful estate planning, you may be able to ensure that your heirs receive more of your estate by avoiding probate.
- You can avoid family fighting and disagreements over your estate. When you put an estate plan into place ahead of time, you can help ensure that your family is prepared for the decisions that you have made about your property. You also can make sure that your property is distributed according to your wishes and not the wishes of other family members.
- You can choose the person you want to make decisions for you, both about healthcare matters and property, if you become incapacitated. You may prefer that one family member make these decisions for you over another. If you don’t designate the person through estate planning documents, then the wrong people may end up making crucial decisions for you. When you know who will be making those decisions for you, you can make sure that the person knows your preferences in advance.
- You can make decisions about your healthcare before it gets to the point that you cannot make those decisions for yourself. You can take a lot of pressure off your family members during an emergency if you have already made decisions about critical matters such as maintaining life support and artificial nutrition and hydration. You can make these decisions through a living will as part of your estate plan.
Let LBE Law Firm Assist You With Your Legal Matter
We can assist you with all stages of estate planning for individuals who wish to get their affairs in order and make plans for the future. LBE Law Firm provides comprehensive legal representation for individuals concerning general legal matters, including wills and estates, bankruptcy, family law, contracts, and immigration law. You can phone us at 1-424-LBE-LAW4 (1-424-523-5294) (call, text, or WhatsApp) or send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Contact us today and learn about how we can help.