Estate Planning is one of those subjects that most people are aware of even though they don't necessarily know how it works or if they need it. Below I will give an outline to help you better understand if your personal situation requires estate planning.
What is estate planning?
It is the process of accumulating, managing, preserving, and transferring wealth. It takes into consideration legal, tax, and personal objectives. The goal of a good estate plan is to minimize the cost of transferring assets (transfer taxes, cost of probate, cost of professional help, etc.) and to transfer the assets to the right people (desired beneficiaries). The plan should eliminate conflicts between the will, contracts, and other property titled with different ownership rights.
Who needs estate planning?
Some examples of people who may need estate planning are as follows:
- If you have a spouse, domestic partner, or minor children
- If you have charitable objectives
- If you have a substantial amount of assets
- If you have specific items of personal property that you want to go to someone in particular, like jewelry, antiques, art
- If you have issues that need to be dealt with after death, such as pets, businesses, special-needs or troubled family members, especially those who cannot handle money and may contest your will.
Hopefully this at least gives you a good primer on estate planning. I will try to post more on this topic soon. If you have specific questions please feel free to contact me directly. Also, this post is for information purposes only. I would need to know your personal circumstances before putting together a proper estate plan.