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Estate Planning: What is it and Why Do I Need a Plan?

Estate planning is the process of designating your assets, property and personal belongings to selected individuals once you have passed.  Large or small, your estate is your personal net worth at any given time.  In the event of your death, you want to be sure that your assets go into the right hands.
Depending on your personal estate, the estate planning process may involve:
  • Wills
  • Living wills
  • Trusts
  • Assignment of Beneficiaries
  • Assignment of Guardians
  • Assignment of Powers of Appointment and Powers of Attorney
  • Property Ownership 
  • Final Arrangements

Minimize Uncertainty and Maximize Value

Proper planning of your estate prevents ambiguity and uncertainty when it comes time for the legal administration process – referred to as a probate in some cases – which involves resolving claims and distributing your property according to your will.
If you’re like most people, you want to do everything you can to uphold the value of your estate so that those you love are left with as much as possible.  Professional estate planners or elder law attorneys can work to reduce taxes and minimize other expenses so that when all is said and done, the value of your net worth is optimized.

Make Life Easier On Your Loved Ones

Without a plan, the final disposal of an estate can be messy, time consuming, costly and stressful.  Should you pass before an estate plan has been put into place, your loved ones will be left to do the planning themselves – without any guidance or knowledge of how you would have wanted your estate dispersed.  
Take matters into your own hands and plan your estate the way you feel is best.  Think about what you want and put it into legal action.  You’ve worked hard your whole life to accumulate value for yourself and your family.  Your estate plan will ease the burden on your loved ones during a time of grief that is already taxing on their emotions.

Protect Your Worth

I need to plan what happens after I’m gone?
Although it may feel morbid – it is necessary.  The result of an estate without an estate plan is the allocation of assets by the government.  You likely have children, grandchildren, relatives or friends that you’d rather see part, or all, of your property given to.  Value what you have accomplished and make appropriate asset designations to the people who are important in your life so that they too can value your accomplishments long after you are gone.

Make Your Own Retirement Years Easier

Although the most known advantage of estate planning is the ability to provide for your loved ones, it can also help you live comfortably in your retired years.  An estate planner or elder law attorney can help you simultaneously plan for retirement, health care needs and other personal benefits to ensure that your aging years are lived in the most optimal fashion to suit your personal requirements.
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