Estate Planning Basics: 3 Questions Asked and Answered About Estate Planning
Estate Planning. You see and hear this term everywhere, but you don’t know what it means. You don’t know if you need an estate plan. You don’t even know if you have an estate to plan. Well, good news: you are not alone! Below is a list of the top three questions we get from our clients about estate planning, and some helpful answers to help you understand the basics of estate planning.
1. What is estate planning? Estate planning is exactly what it sounds like. It is making a plan for your estate. Your estate can be thought of as basically everything you own: your house, your car, your pension, your bank account, and everything in between. After you pass away, everything in your estate is left behind for your family or the courts to sort out. With an estate plan, you can designate beneficiaries and choose who of your family and friends will receive what. Remember when you received Grandma’s diamond ring after she passed away? You were able to receive that ring because she planned (using a Last Will and Testament) for that part of her estate to go to you! Estate planning can involve much more than a Last Will and Testament, though. Your estate plan can include documents like a Will, a Trust, a Life Insurance Trust, a Power of Attorney, and many more. The most basic and popular estate planning document, however, is a Last Will and Testament, also known simply as a Will.
2. What is a Will, and what will happen if I die without one? A Will can be thought of as the foundation of your estate plan. It disposes of the majority of the items in your estate and allows you to designate to whom each item will go. Without a Will, no one can truly know what your intentions are. So, if you pass away without a Will, your estate will be distributed according to your state’s probate laws. If you want to decide what happens to your assets, it is wise to seek the help of an estate lawyer and create a plan that best fits your needs and and your family’s needs.
3. I can’t afford an estate plan, so what should I do? Estate plans don’t have to be expensive! This is one of the biggest misconceptions about creating a Will, a Trust, or other estate planning document. Ahmad Law Offices offers flat fee pricing on our estate planning documents, so you will know exactly what you owe before we dive into creating your estate plan. Additionally, you don’t need to have every single estate planning document that is out there. You can start with just the basics (a Will, a Power of Attorney, and a Healthcare Directive), and build from there as time goes on. Many of these documents can save time and money in the long run, so think of this as an investment for you and your family.
Right now is always the best time to get started on your estate plan. Even if you start with something simple, you can always revise it and add to it in the future. A huge benefit of creating your estate plan is the peace of mind that comes along with having all of your documents in order. Think of estate planning as a gift to yourself and a gift to your family.
This article was created for informational and educational purposes only. It is not legal advice. Please read our full disclaimer here.