When it comes to estate planning, we often hear the following: “I don’t have an estate;” “my estate isn’t big enough for me to worry about estate planning;” “my children know my wishes;” or, “I will take care of it when I am a little older.” While the reasons for not preparing an estate plan are varied and many, the reality is that a failure to create an intentional estate plan results in the creation of an estate plan by default. An estate plan created by default may not reflect your wishes.
Creating an estate plan is the thoughtful process of planning for the disposition of your property after your death. Your property includes everything that you own, including but not limited to cash, bank accounts, stocks, bonds, personal property (jewelry, household furnishings, cars, etc.), your house (and other real estate that you may own), etc. While some assets may pass automatically to another person upon your death, most people will have assets that do not pass automatically, and for which having an estate plan in place is recommended. When it comes to estate planning, it is important to remember that “one size” does not fit all. It is important that each person’s estate plan is tailored to meet their own specific needs, wishes, and circumstances.
Two of the most popular available estate planning options are Wills and Revocable Living Trusts. A Will is legal document in which you provide directions as to whom, and how, your property should be distributed, after your death. A Revocable Living Trust is a legal document that holds the legal title, or in other words ownership of your assets, during your lifetime. When a Revocable Living Trust is created, it typically also includes specific directions regarding the disposition of the remaining trust property that is to take effect after your death.
Our law firm is committed to helping clients understand what makes up their estate, as well as understanding what options are available to them to create intentional and thoughtful estate plans designed to meet their needs and wishes. In addition, for our clients who are either: a bit older; who are concerned about future long-term care needs; or, who have loved ones with special needs, the Elder Law Center, P.C. division of our law firm offers the insight and experience to help you address these concerns within your estate plan, as well as other special concerns or issues, that you may be facing.
For more information regarding estate planning, please contact the Elder Law Center, P.C. division of our law firm.