The Estate Planning Process: What You Need to Know

estate planning lawyer

67% of Americans say they have no estate plan in place. While many would agree with the importance of estate planning for various reasons, so many have still not done it.

40% of Americans say they agree it’s important, yet just haven’t done it yet. 33% of people think they don’t have enough assets to bother with this type of planning.

Some people don’t like the idea of facing their mortality when going through estate planning.

Yet, working with an estate planning lawyer and taking care of your affairs is important for many reasons. Not to mention, more people should do estate planning than probably realize it is necessary.

So, if you’re unsure about the need for estate planning or even the many benefits of doing it, keep reading to learn more about the value of working with estate planning attorneys to get your affairs in order.

What Is Estate Planning?

Estate planning is planning what will happen with your assets when you die. Estate planning often involves the preparation of many documents to make your wishes clear regarding assets, property, and children.

While some assume that estate planning is just about money, it’s much more. When estate planning, you will:

  • Create a will
  • Set up trusts
  • Make charitable donations
  • Plan for estate taxes
  • Name an executor
  • Name beneficiaries
  • Set up funeral arrangements

Most estate plans also include necessary power of attorney paperwork for financial and medical decision-making.

Who Should Consider Estate Planning?

Some people who said they don’t have an estate plan believe it might be too expensive. Yet, the reality is that anyone who has children and adult responsibilities should have an estate plan.

Of course, some estate plans are more complex than others. You can have a will and power of attorney paperwork and an estate plan. You can also have a living will, more complex asset directives, and it will be an estate plan.

If you want to help out your loved ones after you’re gone, you should have an estate plan. If you have minor children, you absolutely should have an estate plan to designate their care if something were to happen to you.

Benefits of Working With an Estate Planning Law Firm

The truth is that it can feel daunting to consider all the decisions connected to estate planning. You might not even know what should be included in your estate plan.

Working with an estate planning attorney will provide you with the knowledge and expertise you need while planning your estate.

Let’s take a closer look at the variety of benefits of working with estate planning attorneys while planning out your estate.

Organize and Create Estate Planning Documents

One of the things you will do with your estate planning attorneys is to create a series of documents that become the cornerstone of your estate planning. These documents include:

  • Last will and testament
  • Living will
  • Power of attorney
  • Trust

Not everyone who does estate planning may need all of these documents. Your estate planning attorney can discuss your needs and craft the ones that fit you.

Most people need a will and power of attorney paperwork for their estate plan.

Property and Beneficiaries

Designating a beneficiary is one of the first big decisions you’ll make in estate planning. This person will receive your assets or property when you die.

One of the mistakes that people make when estate planning is forgetting to revisit their plan once it’s in place. Life can change over time, and you want to ensure your beneficiary information is up to date on all your assets, policies, and investments.

When you die, the executor you name will be responsible for getting assets and property transferred to you, the person you name as beneficiary.

Addressing Estate Tax Implications

One of the important reasons to do tax planning is to consider the tax implications of what happens to your assets once you die. You spend a lifetime building your assets.

You don’t want your heirs to lose much of it when they pay taxes. There are some options to protect your assets; some of this depends on the quantity of your assets and where you live.

Work with your estate planning attorney to find ways that you might be able to protect your assets from taxes.

Wishes for Minor Children

If you’re the parent of minor children, you want to be the one who makes decisions about their care if you’re no longer living. You don’t want a court-appointed executor doing that for you.

Not only can you establish who you’d like to care for your kids, but you can also arrange your finances so they have the needed resources.

Avoid Probate Court

One of the big reasons to ensure you have a will is to avoid the cost and hassles of the probate court for your heirs. Probate courts settle unpaid debts and make decisions about an estate if there isn’t paperwork that already spells out your wishes.

If you name an executor and a beneficiary, the court won’t do it for you. Then you can be assured your wishes are followed.

Get Your Affairs in Order With an Estate Planning Lawyer

Creating an estate plan shouldn’t feel intimidating. You should feel good about what happens with your assets and affairs once you’re gone. Working with an estate planning lawyer can help you work through the process and the decision-making associated with estate planning.

If you’re looking for an estate planning law firm to help you with your estate planning, we can help. Contact us today so our attorneys can help you get started with your estate planning.