It seems like a good portion of our lives are spent planning for the future. In high school, you planned for college. In college, you planned for your career. At some point, you probably started planning to have a family, then for retirement. In the midst of all this planning, it is important to not forget to plan for what happens to your estate when you die.
There are wide variety of reasons for estate planning. Here are three examples:
Proper estate planning could help reduce the complexity of the probate process or eliminated probate entirely for your surviving beneficiaries. Probate avoidance could be especially important if you do not want the extent of your property to become a matter of public record. In addition, probate can often be a lengthy and tedious process. The implementation of the proper estate planning tools can help your loved ones save time and money.
Protection from estate taxes
Another goal some people direct the estate planning process towards is protecting their property from the effects of estate taxes. Certain trusts and other estate planning tools could help significantly reduce or eliminate such tax exposure for larger estates.
Avoid a family fight
Proper estate planning also allows you to control what happens to your property after you pass or if you become incapacitated. You can put directives in place that specify your wishes when it comes to medical treatment if you wind up in a position where you cannot make a decision or speak for yourself. In addition, you can leave instructions as to how your chosen representative should divide your property and when he or she should distribute it to your beneficiaries. This could keep your family from fighting amongst themselves over who gets what.
It is never too early to start estate planning. Even if it seems like you may not have enough assets to worry about, starting the process can be very important. This could make it easier to make alterations in the future as you accumulate more property and it can put important protections in place should the unexpected happen.