EVERYONE SHOULD HAVE AN ESTATE PLAN THAT DIRECTS THE DISTRIBUTION OF THEIR REAL ESTATE, BANK ACCOUNTS, RETIREMENT PLANS, INVESTMENTS, PERSONAL PROPERTY, AND OTHER ASSETS.
An Estate plan will also appoint your Personal Representative, Executor, Trustee, Guardian for minor children, or other legal representative. It is unwise to allow needless court costs, legal fees, and estate taxes to cut into the inheritance you leave for your heirs, or even worse, to let lawyers or the state distribute your heir’s inheritance for you. Many Americans do not understand the concept of estate planning and have never created a will. Without an estate plan, your survivors may be left confused or vulnerable to lawsuits. An effective estate plan can provide guidance to heirs and protect valuable assets belonging to your estate. If your estate is large or if you have experienced major life changes, it is advisable to review your estate plan at least every few years.
Your Will is only one part of an estate plan. Your strategy might include the use of a trust to manage the use of your property during your lifetime and the distribution of that property after your death. There are also non-probate transfers of property such as beneficiary designations, pay-on-death-accounts, and joint tenancy. Eligibility for benefits such as Medicaid, Social Security, and preparations for long-term care should also be assessed in the preparation or review of your estate plan.