Many people associate estate planning with the wealthy and elderly, but this tool can benefit anyone, regardless of income or age. Though it takes some time and effort, estate planning is one of the single best things you can do for your family’s future. No matter your age or income, you should consider estate planning as soon as you own property, amass significant savings, have children, or any combination of the three.
Unfortunately, those who don’t opt for early estate planning typically fail to do so because they don’t understand the benefits of the system. At Huber Fox, P.C., we make it a priority to provide comprehensive and reliable estate planning information that helps clients preserve their assets and protect their loved ones. In this blog, we break down the four positive outcomes of estate planning that you should know.
What Are the Four Positive Outcomes of Estate Planning?
The most significant benefits you can obtain through estate planning include the following:
- You Protect Your Loved Ones Though it is uncomfortable to think about, unexpected deaths can happen to anyone at any time. If you haven’t created a comprehensive, legally enforceable estate plan, control of your assets is handled via probate, a complicated and often time-consuming court-supervised process of verifying your will and administering your estate. This means that the individuals you want to have your items may not be the ones receiving them or that your beneficiaries must wait for probate to conclude to gain access to their inheritance.For example, let’s say you have a daughter and have recently remarried. You own a small cottage from your first marriage that was central to your daughter’s life growing up, and she wishes to keep it in the family to share with her own kids. If you do not leave a will designating your daughter as the beneficiary of the cottage, your wishes may not be followed. It is likely that your new spouse, the daughter’s stepparent, will inherit the property through the probate process. If your spouse so chooses, they can sell the cottage, remodel it, or even pass it on to their own children, leaving your daughter out of the picture entirely.This is just one example of how you leave your loved ones vulnerable when you fail to develop an estate plan. It is never too soon to put safety measures in place to prepare for any uncertainties the future holds. Remember, most estate planning options can be changed throughout your lifetime to accommodate changes in circumstances, such as a divorce, remarriage, adoption, or the birth of a new child.
- You Protect Young Children It is heartbreaking to think of young children losing a parent. However, it is even more heartbreaking to think of them ending up with an unfit relative or being put into the foster system due to their family’s lack of planning.Estate planning allows you to give detailed instructions for your children’s care following your death. You can be sure they’re provided for by the right people who you personally choose and are not forced to rely on probate and child services to find a new home. Often, a judge will choose the closest relative who has a suitable home, but this could be a family member with little connection to your children or someone they may have never met before. An estate plan puts control of your children’s future in your hands instead of leaving it up to a judge to decide.
- You Keep Taxes at Bay When your assets go through probate court, the IRS can take a significant amount. Although not all estate planning measures can prevent this, there are ways to structure your estate to ensure that the IRS takes the minimum amount of taxes. This maximizes the amount that your beneficiaries receive. It also ensures that your hard-earned money and assets go to your family instead of the state.Of course, there may be minimum taxes to pay. However, we can help you develop an estate plan that offers the most benefits and prevents you from paying more than your fair share.
- You Prevent Family Drama Grief is a strange force. Time and again, we have seen otherwise healthy and adjusted families tear themselves apart over wills and beneficiaries. They believe that they deserve certain assets and benefits, and if their beliefs do not match with your wishes, they argue. Sometimes, families do not speak for years because of the issues they encounter while dealing with probate court and other asset division avenues.If you do not have a will in place or do not name an executor, this problem compounds on itself. The person who takes over the role is often under pressure, and arguments are more common. When you create an estate, you can name your attorney as your executor. This often keeps families from arguing amongst themselves and ensures that the terms of your will are properly carried out.
Let’s Talk Assets
We have mentioned the concept of assets quite a few times so far. It is important to understand what an asset is. An asset refers to anything that has significant financial value, such as a home, car, savings accounts, stocks, retirement funds, life insurance, businesses, etc. The court considers all of these to be valuable. If you do not divide them yourself, probate court will choose who they go to. Often, all of it goes to a next of kin.
In some states, the probate process is unavoidable no matter what you do. However, in some scenarios, you can assemble an estate that avoids probate court. This means that the court does not take money to settle your debts before they distribute the rest to your beneficiaries. Doing your best to avoid this court is another way that you can protect your beneficiaries from the beginning.
Contact Huber Fox, P.C.,
If you are looking for reliable and compassionate legal help with your estate planning, contact our team at Huber Fox, P.C. We have several decades of combined experience and can guide your estate planning according to modern techniques, laws, and benefits. We are passionate about the importance of estate planning and dedicated to providing members of our community with access to the resources and information they need to create a strong estate plan.
If you are ready to take proactive steps to protect your family, we are here to help. Please contact us online today.