Many Americans either do not have a valid estate plan in place or need to update their will and estate plan. While this is not uncommon, many of us would rather not think about what happens to our estate after death, estate planning is an important process that offers protection for you and the future of your loved ones. An estate plan helps your loved ones settle your affairs appropriately and according to your wishes in the event of your death. Today, we discuss the importance behind establishing a valid estate plan.
The Benefits of Establishing an Estate Plan
Most people believe they do not need an estate plan until they are older, but this could not be farther from the truth. An estate plan can also be considered a financial plan as it helps you determine who will inherit your property and assets. It is also used for lifetime planning purposes. Here are some additional benefits of establishing an estate plan:
Protects Your Beneficiaries
If you die without an estate plan or will in place, your estate must go through the probate process. As such, it will be difficult for your heirs to inherit from you since the probate process is lengthy, expensive, and unpredictable. Unless you have a valid estate plan in place detailing who will inherit certain assets when you die, the court must determine this for you. It is possible that your heirs may not inherit the assets and property you wanted them to receive. If you want to protect your beneficiaries and ensure they inherit certain assets, it is important to create a valid estate plan.
Avoids the Probate Process
The probate process can be expensive and the last thing you want your beneficiaries to do is to spend your savings on probate fees. Probate is also time-consuming, and your beneficiaries may have to wait an extended period of time before receiving their inheritance. Additionally, matters of probate are considered public, so all the details of your estate will become public record if taken to probate court. Spare your loved ones the time, money, and energy by creating a living trust and assigning beneficiaries.
Additionally, it is stressful to go through probate court – especially for a family who recently lost a loved one. In some cases, probate fees could equal 10% of the total estate, which takes money away from the family. Whenever possible, it is best to avoid the probate process.
Reduces Inheritance Taxes
An estate plan will contain information regarding property and asset transfers. The transfer of such assets reduces the amount of estate taxes and state inheritance taxes your beneficiaries will have to pay. Without a valid estate plan in place, your beneficiaries may owe a substantial amount of money in taxes.
Eliminates Disputes Between Loved Ones
Whenever there are assets involved, the possibility of conflict is high. Help your loved ones avoid disputes in the future by creating an estate plan. That way if one family member feels entitled to more of your estate than another, there will be a legally binding document in place stating what he/she is and is not entitled to. Without an estate plan, your loved ones will have to go to probate court, which could prove contentious if they cannot come to an agreement with one another regarding their inheritance.
Secure a Consultation with a Reputable Attorney at Our Firm
Determining how to divide your estate in the event of your death is a crucial aspect of estate planning. As such, it is advisable to seek the services of an experienced attorney to help you prepare and execute your estate plan. At Casey, Simmons & Bryant, PLLC, we represent a variety of clients, including high-asset individuals, with all their estate planning needs. If you require legal assistance to generate a will or estate plan, contact our office to schedule a consultation.
Contact our office online or call us directly at (731) 256-0023 to schedule a consultation.