It’s human nature to plan for some things and avoid planning for others. People plan family gatherings, they plan trips out of town, they plan what to have for dinner. But it’s not uncommon for people to put off planning the specifics of what will happen to everything they’ve worked so hard for once they are gone.
Estate planning isn’t one of those things you look forward to doing, but it is one of the most important steps people can take to make sure their final property and healthcare wishes are honored. It also helps ensure that loved ones are provided for in their absence.
Contrary to popular belief, estate planning isn’t only for the wealthy. Middle-class families also need to have a plan in place in the event that something happens to the family’s breadwinner (or breadwinners). Without a plan in place there could be a long-lasting impact on your loved ones, even if you don’t have an expensive home, investments or real estate.
Understanding the estate planning options that are right for you can be a complex undertaking. The professionals at Weisinger Law Firm are ready to help you identify your estate planning needs, recognize potential solutions, and assist you at every step of the estate planning process.
what you have in mind
Even if your estate consists only of a few shares of stock, or your grandmother’s wedding ring, if you don’t decide who is going to get it when you pass away, you won’t have any control over what happens to it. A major part of estate planning is designating which heirs will receive your assets. Without an estate plan, a judge can decide who gets what, and this process can take years and get very messy. A court doesn’t know which of your family members have been responsible and which ones shouldn’t have free access to cash. Additionally, without an estate plan in place, surviving spouse or children may not get everything.
What if the unthinkable happens and you pass away while your children are still small? What will happen to them? Choosing a guardian for your children is an extraordinarily important step in ensuring that they are taken care of how, and by whom, you choose. Without this guardian designation, a judge will be the one who makes the incredibly important decision of who will raise your children.
One of the more important aspects of estate planning is transferring assets to heirs while keeping the tax burden as small as possible, and protecting your loved ones from big tax hits. Even with just a little bit of estate planning, couples can reduce much or even all of their federal and state taxes. But without a plan, the amount that your heirs will owe Uncle Sam could be quite a lot.
It’s tragic, but sometimes siblings don’t get along after the death of a parent. Some siblings may think they deserve a larger share of the estate than the others, or that they should be in charge of the finances even though they’ve never been particularly responsible with money. Unfortunately, these situations can get ugly, with families warring against each other. But an estate plan helps to alleviate much of this infighting and gives you, as the benefactor, the opportunity to specify the role you want each person to play once you are no longer able to do so.