Nearly all of us have an estate. An estate is simply comprised of every asset that you own, whether it be your car, home, real estate, checking or savings accounts – even your personal possessions. Regardless of how large or small, we all have an estate and we can’t take it with us when we die. That’s where estate planning becomes important.
Most of us would like to be able to control what happens to our “things” when we die. We want to be able to decide who our property is given to and make sure our wishes are carried out. In order to do that, we must provide adequate instructions for those who survive us. When it is all said and done, it would be best that our assets are transferred to our loved-ones with the least amount of taxes, legal fees and court costs as possible.
Fayetteville Arkansas Estate Planning: What is It?
Estate planning is essentially making a plan in advance which names who you want to receive your assets after you die. Proper estate planning is more than this, however. It should also do the following, as needed:
- Include instructions for your care if you become disabled before you die
- Name a guardian and manager for the inheritance of any minor children
- Provide for family members with special needs while maintaining eligibility for government benefits
- Provide for loved ones who may be unable to manage money or who may need protection from creditors
- Include life insurance benefits for your surviving family, disability income insurance if you become unable to work, and long-term care insurance to assist in financing your medical care in case of an extended illness or injury
- Provide for the transfer of your business at your retirement, disability or death
Your plan, once established, must be reviewed and updated as your family and financial situations change during your lifetime.
Estate planning is for everyone.
Contrary to what some may believe, estate planning is not just for the wealthy or for “retired” people. Unfortunately, most people put off estate planning for many reasons. We think we don’t have enough assets or we aren’t old enough. Some of us just think we have plenty of time. Since we cannot predict how long we will live, or whether we will suffer from illness or accident, estate planning should be taken care of sooner rather than later. Once something happens, it’s often too late and the families of those who didn’t plan will be left to pick up the pieces.
Estate planning doesn’t have to be expensive.
Even if you think you may not be able to afford a complex estate plan, you can always start with something simpler. For example a young family or single adult may only require a will, term life insurance, and powers of attorney for their assets and health care decisions. As your needs change and your financial situation improves, you can expand your plan as required. An experienced Fayetteville Arkansas estate planning attorney will be able to provide the necessary guidance and peace of mind that you need.