No one wants to think about the end of life, but everyone should put their end-of-life wishes into writing. Making an estate plan isn’t just for the wealthy and it is not limited to a last will and testament. It can prevent unpleasant family disputes, take care of your dependents, and can ensure that you’ll be cared for if you should become incapacitated.
Distribute your assets
The most obvious reason to have an estate plan, of course, is to distribute the wealth you’ve acquired—even if you don’t consider yourself “wealthy,” you probably have bank accounts, retirement, life insurance, and other property that you wish to distribute. If you have equity in your company or a stock portfolio, you’ll want to designate how that’s divided as well. Your wishes need to be clearly outlined so that there’s no mistaking how you wanted your property to be dispersed. Having a clear estate plan is like having a road map: it helps prevent family fighting and confusion in a time of grief. It also saves the courts time and money: dying intestate (without a will) means that the courts, not you, will decide who gets your property.
Take care of minor children and other dependents
When you have children, you must consider the possibility that you and their other parent may not be able to raise them to adulthood. You can therefore use your estate plan to assign a guardian for them. This lessens the likelihood that a court will have to step in and find a guardian themselves. Although no one likes to contemplate the prospect, you’ll rest easier knowing your children will stay with someone whom you trust. Read more about Guardianship
Limit tax liability
There are several kinds of taxes that can apply to your estate: the gift tax, the estate tax, and the generation-skipping transfer tax. Both the state and the IRS have limits on how much money can be transferred before it’s subject to being taxed. Estate planning can help strategically minimize your loved ones’ tax liability. Read more about Advanced Estate Planning
Set up philanthropic legacies
Many people wish to preserve their own legacy by designating a certain amount of money or property to philanthropic organizations. Whether that’s a scholarship fund, donations to museums or other ways to give back to your favorite communities and charities, a good estate planner can help you decide how your wealth can be used to its greatest potential.
Provide for your own end-of-life needs
Should you become incapacitated, an estate plan can help provide for your own needs. Estate planning can help you set aside the money you’ll need. When you can’t work or adequately express your health care wishes, having an estate plan includes having a health care plan. In addition to a financial plan, you can also memorialize your care preferences, as well as designate a health care proxy and durable power of attorney.
Baker Law Group, P.C. is happy to help you with your estate plan, from your major assets to the ones you may not have considered yet. Our team is skilled at handling all issues estate-related, including probate, asset protection and elderly care services. Contact us today for a free consultation. Call or text 781-996-5656 or toll free at 800-701-0352 today. MBakerLaw.com