If estate planning is something you plan to do now or in the near future, there are many facets to the process that you should be aware of. Some individuals give little thought to their end-of-life plans beyond simply planning to write a will when they get around to it. Estate planning allows you to be much more specific in your wishes with regards to assets and decisions about your legacy.
Contrary to popular belief, just allowing the courts to determine who gets what after you die is a long and frustrating process that rarely goes the way you imagine it would. Here we will take a step beyond the basics, such as writing a will, and touch on three finer points to keep in mind during the process of planning.
When thinking about estate planning, most people simply think it means writing a will and being done for the day. The truth is, it is far more complex and includes many options that are overlooked or not considered. Keep in mind that an estate plan is not simply for those in ill health or old age, it is for everyone at any point in your adult life when you have assets or responsibilities. For example, naming a preferred and backup guardian for your children in the event something happens to you is one feature useful regardless of age. It can help prevent long, drawn-out fights in court and leave you with the comfort of knowing your children will be well taken care of in the event of a catastrophe. Maintaining sufficient life insurance is another step in forming an estate plan as it offers much-needed assistance to your family, particularly if you are the breadwinner.
Do Not Set It And Forget It
One of the most common mistakes seen with estate planning is taking the set it and forget it approach. Your life, assets, relationships, and desires change over the years and so should your estate plan. This is not to say you should make sudden and extreme updates such as cutting a loved one out of your will the moment you have an argument. Major life changes such as births, deaths, and the start or end of marriages can warrant an update. Death and tragedy can happen at any time, and it is often truly unexpected. By regularly revisiting and updating your estate plan as your circumstances change you won't have to worry about such unfortunate occurrences.
Consider Seeking Help
Not everyone needs a professional when making the basic, bare minimum plans for their estate. Naturally, there are hundreds of free will writing resources and kits available that make homemade approach possible for those unconcerned with additional options. For business matters, significant assets, or complex actions such as creating trusts, professional help from an attorney or estate planning professional may either be mandatory or in your best interest. Taxes are always a concern, particularly with a very large estate, and it can be difficult to know what to expect or how to avoid your beneficiaries losing a large chunk of inheritance to the taxman. Asset protection strategies are definitely a primary benefit of seeking help. Beyond providing guidance, they can remove the difficulty of dealing with unknowns and keep you updated on any relevant law changes that affect your estate plan. Even if you began your process years ago with a homemade will, transferring your wishes to a more formal document is a simple process.
From handling your assets to setting down legal directives, estate planning is important for everyone to consider. Of course, it can be difficult to know where to start and when to seek a professional's help. For guidance on the estate planning process and the security of knowing your legacy and assets are protected, contact BD Financial Concepts today.
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