Early Preparation Is the Key to Avoiding Additional Family Stress and Potential Conflict
A comprehensive estate and asset protection plan prepared in advance can avoid confusion and frustration for you and your family members. Many families consult with a lawyer only in a time of crisis, medical emergency, or once their loved one has passed away. The family often expresses confusion and frustration at the situation because they are now forced to deal with their loved one’s medical, financial, or probate needs. Oftentimes, the family finds themselves fighting a costly, uphill battle at that point which could have easily been avoided had the proper steps been taken beforehand.
Additionally, early preparation of an estate plan can minimize or eliminate estate taxes. It can also save on costly attorney’s fees and court costs associated with guardianships, conservatorships and probate.
With proper planning and preparation, family members can avoid unneeded stress, costs, and uncertainty allowing them the opportunity to focus on what matters most, being with and supporting each other.
What is Estate Planning?
Estate planning is a process. It involves people — your family, other individuals and, in many cases, charitable organizations of your choice. It also involves your assets (your property) and the various forms of ownership and title that those assets may take. And it addresses your future needs in case you ever become unable to care for yourself. Through estate planning, you can determine:
- How and by whom your assets will be managed for your benefit during your life if you ever become unable to manage them yourself.
- When and under what circumstances it makes sense to distribute your assets during your lifetime.
- How and to whom your assets will be distributed after your death.
- How and by whom your personal care will be managed and how health care decisions will be made during your lifetime if you become unable to care for yourself.
Many people mistakenly think that estate planning only involves the writing of a will or that only the wealthy need to do it. Estate planning, however, can also involve financial, tax, medical and business planning. A will is part of the planning process, but you will need other documents as well to fully address your estate planning needs. You will discover that estate planning is a dynamic process. As people, assets and laws change, it may be necessary to adjust your estate plan to reflect those changes.