Essential estate planning tips for your family
We spend months planning for the perfect getaway, major life events, such as a wedding or family reunion or purchasing a home, yet we put off planning for the future if something unexpected should happen.
An estate plan gives you control over who shall be given the opportunity to care for your treasured items, pets, children, homes, and vehicles.
When to Get an Estate Plan
There isn’t a specific income level where estate planning comes into play. You don’t need to have a significant cash flow or assets to put your affairs in order. You may be surprised at all you have once you begin to take stock of your assets.
Consider your 401K, any vehicles, homes, jewelry, pets, furniture, artwork, or prized memorabilia that will be placed in limbo if something unexpected happens to you. Most of all, children benefit from a thorough estate plan that is put in place by a professional legal planner.
Why Get an Estate Plan
There are many reasons why estate planning is an important task to complete. If the breadwinner of the family should become incapacitated or pass on, it can plummet a family into financial distress, conflict, and court.
Whether you have jewelry, antique furniture, a home, car, or other substantial assets, a primary component of estate planning is to appoint who will receive these items.
Without an estate plan in place, the courts will step in to decide who receives your favorite piece of jewelry, grandma’s hand-painted china, and your mahogany coffee table. These personal items may carry meaning for you that will transfer to the person you have selected to receive them should something happen to you.
When your estate goes into the courts, the system is built to divide and deliver your cherished items in the quickest and easiest way possible. At least on paper. A court may choose the next of kin, such as a sibling or legal spouse, possibly overlooking the fact that you haven’t spoken to that person in years, simply because the law requires or it is the swiftest way to move the case along, which can take about 12 to 16 months, even for simple estates.
An Estate Plan Protects Your Family
A vital part of estate planning is also one of the more challenging to confront. If you have young children and no estate plan in place, you may be putting them at risk. When you aren’t available, and no obvious family or friend is in place, your children may find themselves in temporary foster homes should something unthinkable happen to you. Having a plan in place before an accident occurs ensures that a child will have a caring family member or family friend at their side before the authorities take them out of your home and the courts are required to step in and sort where and who the child would be best off with.
An estate plan ensures that family members don’t have to engage in the exhaustive and emotional issue of having to deem who receives what.
This can be the most difficult decision of estate planning. A professional estate planner can guide you through this emotional decision to find what is best for the child should you no longer be able to care for them.
Avoid Tax Trouble
One of the crucial parts of estate planning is transferring assets to heirs so that they aren’t hit with state inheritance taxes or federal and state estate taxes. If a spouse is incapacitated or worse, the living spouse is protected from courts stepping in to sort out any issues with the estate transferring to the other partner. Children, nieces, nephews, or any other family members will be saved from losing monies to the Internal Revenue Service. The IRS can step in and take a significant portion of what you have to offer in assets and funds. This unresolved situation can also put your inheritors in debt.
For more information about how to create an Estate Plan for your family, contact the Young Law Group by visiting their website at Younglawlive.com
Members of the editorial and news staff of the Las Vegas Review-Journal were not involved in the creation of this content.