Estate planning is not the first thing you think of when it comes to prioritizing timely for important financial matters. However, handling your personal financial affairs with foresight by implementing an estate planning strategy is valuable and can be tremendously beneficial to your family.
It’s human nature to think not to plan on dying. Yet, discussing a plan for your financial estate is vital for financial security of your family and loved ones who rely on you for financial support – especially for tuition and education related costs, high school, college and post-graduate education.
Life happens… and you can find yourself with life’s changes – health problems, the loss of a job, a career change, all without much notice in advance. As all too many of us know, first-hand and from sudden onset of a terminal illness and/or death of those we love, sometimes in the prime of their lives, life happens and, sadly, illness and death happens when we least expect it.
Even a trapeze artist uses a safety net. Having a safety net to plan for your future is just plain smart.
Estate planning involves several component parts, and it is important to have a lawyer you can trust.
This estate planning series will cover several informative topics that you may find interesting or complicated and, if the latter, it is even more important for you to reach out to people you trust to help you plan for your loved ones to be secure and taken care of when you are no longer around.
The first place to start is general information about the basics. Then, with more specific components of your estate plan, we can provide you with information … and “information is power,” as the saying goes.
What is estate planning?
Believe it or not, you have an estate. In fact, nearly everyone does. Your estate is comprised of everything you own— your car, home, other real estate, checking and savings accounts, investments, life insurance, furniture, personal possessions.
No matter how large or how modest, everyone has an estate and something in common—you can’t take it with you when you die.
When that happens—and it is a “when” and not an “if”—you probably want to control how those things are given to the people or organizations you care most about.
To ensure your wishes are carried out, you need to provide instructions stating whom you want to receive something of yours, what you want them to receive, and when they are to receive it.
You will, of course, want this to happen with the least amount paid in taxes, legal fees, and court costs.
Estate planning starts with discussing and making a plan in advance and naming who you want to receive the things you own after you die. However, good estate planning is much more than that.
An estate plan should also:
- Include instructions for passing your values (religion, education, hard work, etc.) in addition to your valuables.
- Include instructions for your care if you become disabled before you die.
- Name a guardian and an inheritance manager or Trustee for minor children.
- Provide for family members with special needs without disrupting government benefits.
- Provide for loved ones who might be irresponsible with money or who may need future protection from creditors or divorce.
- Include life insurance to provide for your family at your death, disability income insurance to replace your income if you cannot work due to illness or injury, and long-term care insurance to help pay for your care in case of an extended illness or injury.
- Provide for the transfer of your business at your retirement, disability, or death.
- Minimize taxes, court costs, and unnecessary legal fees.
- Be an ongoing process, not a one-time event. Your plan should be reviewed and updated as your family and financial situations (and laws) change over your lifetime.
Estate Planning is one of the most thoughtful and considerate things you can do for yourself and for those you love.
An experienced attorney will be able to provide critical guidance and peace of mind that your estate planning documents are prepared properly.
It is important that you select a lawyer you trust to handle your estate planning so that you direct the assets in your estate through a Last Will and Testament, with Trust provisions when it is beneficial.
Call or contact the law offices of Michael Calogero to learn more: 504-456-8683