Yes, you have said, “This year, I will make sure that my family is provided for, just in case.”
You know that an estate left without a Will creates a financial and legal burden for your family that prevents them from receiving the legacy you meant to leave them. But then you get busy at work and with family and calling your estate attorney begins to fall farther and farther toward the bottom of the to-do list.
One of the best ways to make sure you keep your resolution to complete your estate plan is to tell someone about it. Let your friends and family members know about your plans; that way they can encourage you to follow through. Obviously, the best procedure is to call a qualified estate planning attorney and make that appointment.
Most surveys suggest that 70% of American adults have no estate plan at all and the ultimate decisions about how your estate will be distributed will be made by the government.
A will is the first step to accomplishing a well-thought-out estate plan. The will states who you are, who you want to settle your estate, and how you want your things distributed. A will should revoke any prior wills you have created and will set guardians for any minor children.
You should consult with your estate attorney about what else you need to assure that your family is provided for; depending upon your situation and goals, you may want to ask about a durable power of attorney, a health care directive, a HIPAA release, a trust or other elements that work in concert with your will to protect you, your family, and your assets.
A will can be a poor way to distribute your assets; wills must be processed through probate court and probate is a public process that any adult could use to contest your will, subjecting your family to litigation. A Revocable Living Trust is the private alternative to a will and does not require probate.
A Revocable Living Trust is a flexible estate planning strategy that holds your assets but still allows you to use them while you are alive and can distribute them after your death. It can also provide a seamless transition of legal authority of your assets to take care of you and your family if you become incapacitated.
Other types of trusts can be used to accomplish an amazing array of goals from tax planning to legacy building to asset protection. These include:
- A Life Insurance Trust
- Qualified Personal Residence Trust
- Charitable Remainder Trust
- Grantor Retained Annuity Trust
- Gifting Trust
…just to name a few.
Contact your qualified estate planning attorney today. You will be amazed at the peace of mind you will achieve.