Perhaps the biggest misconception regarding estate planning is that it’s only applicable for the wealthy. In reality, everybody has an estate, no matter how large or small it may be, and it cannot be carried with them upon their death. According to Utah law, an estate encompasses all of an individual’s possessions, including; cash, jewelry, stocks, vehicles, real estate, investments, life insurance, and other assets that the individual owns. This raises the important questions:
- What happens to your assets in the event of your death?
- How will they be distributed?
While estate planning is a complicated and in-depth process, it’s important to make such arrangements, because your family’s future depends on it. Today, we will discuss what an estate plan is, what happens if you don’t have one, and why you may want to hire a lawyer to help you with your estate planning.
What Is An Estate Plan?
Estate planning takes place in advance and provides detailed directions on the distribution of your assets. Some people decide to set up a trust or will in their estate plan. A trust is a legal arrangement that grants a third-party control of assets on behalf of the beneficiaries. A will,on the other hand, coordinates the distribution of financial and physical assets and it can even appoint guardianship of minor children. However, good estate planning:
- Provides instructions for your healthcare and finances if you ever become incapacitated
- Considers long-term care insurance to cover your care in the event of a serious illness or disability
- Makes a plan for life insurance policies that will cover funeral costs and benefits one’s family
- Considers planning for relatives with special needs
Estate planning isn’t a one-time event — it’s a long-term approach to securing your assets. Due to the importance of planning for the inevitable, and the implications that these decisions have, selecting an experienced estate planning attorney is crucial.
What Does An Estate Planning Attorney Do?
Estate planning is a specialty field. An estate planning lawyer is responsible for producing a written record of your wishes in the event of incapacity or death. A skilled estate planning attorney will present the best options to ensure that your goals are met. Importantly, your lawyer is knowledgeable in the state and federal laws that impact how your estate is valued, distributed, and taxed after your death. They also serve as a guide to your loved ones in the probate process. As family circumstances and laws change, you’ll need to review and update your estate plan. Your estate planning lawyer will ensure that your living trust, will and other aspects of your estate plan are up to date.
What Happens If You Don’t Have An Estate Plan?
Often, people put off estate planning because they feel that they don’t own enough or that they are too young to begin planning. The truth is that the future is uncertain, and accidents and illnesses can affect anyone at any age. Failing to have an estate plan can be incredibly detrimental to families of even modest means. In Utah, if you don’t die with a will or some type of estate plan in place, your assets and all of your possessions will be subject to intestate succession laws through the state’s probate court. That means everything will automatically pass to your closest relative regardless of the kind of relationship you had with them. If you have children, the state will appoint a guardian if the other parent is not alive or cannot care for the child. Would you prefer to handle these delicate matters by those you love and trust or by the court system?
Why Should I Hire An Estate Planning Lawyer?
Planning for the inevitable can be incredibly challenging, especially if you don’t know exactly what you’ll need. That’s where estate planning comes in. A skilled estate planning attorney can work with you to develop a plan and reduce risk of litigation. Your attorney will be able to help you determine how best to leave specific assets to your relatives and how to set up resources that younger relatives will be able to access later on in life. An estate planning attorney can be very beneficial for sorting out complex personal financial and business-related situations. If you own a business, have disabled family members that you care for, are in your second or third marriage, or have charities that you would like to leave donations to, these special circumstances can be challenging to sort out during estate planning. When it comes to complicated real life situations, the sound advice of an experienced estate planning attorney is vital.
Estate Planning Is Essential To Protecting Your Estate And Your Family
Dealing with death and planning for what comes after can be difficult and uncomfortable, but it doesn’t have to be. With Proven Law, we can work through these complexities together with expert legal counsel and get the help you need to decide on the delicate estate planning choices you will need to make to ensure that your loved ones are well cared for in the event of your passing. Whether you need to adjust an existing trust or are looking to create a new will, please contact us for your complimentary personal consultation and we’ll get you on the road to peace of mind.