Estate planning involves a lot more than wealth distribution and tax avoidance. Everyone over the age of eighteen needs a proper estate plan to protect current and future assets as well as safeguarding your health. Let’s take a look at the Top 5 reasons you need an estate plan:
1. Managing and Distributing Assets. Regardless of the amount you own, you have assets that need to be managed in the event of your incapacity and properly distributed according to your wishes upon your death. An estate plan will include the right documents to ensure all property – from real estate to personal effects – are properly maintained and given to those you choose.
2. Health Care. Determining the manner in which your health care decisions are carried out in the event you cannot make or communicate these wishes on your own is an essential part of a comprehensive estate plan. Choosing and appointing a trusted health care agent and providing advance directives of your end of life preferences is all included.
3. Probate Avoidance. Preventing any unnecessary delays and expenses that create hardship on your family is also an important component of estate planning. Proper planning can keep your family out of court and keep your estate and financial issues private.
4. Non-Probate Property. You likely have assets that are considered non-probate property that also need to be accounted for and kept up to date. These include IRAs, life insurance and other retirement accounts or pensions all of which are distributed upon death based on beneficiary designations. A comprehensive estate plan will include reviewing these documents and ensuring they are properly completed.
5. Digital Asset Planning. Now everyone has a digital footprint and some of these assets may contain value. Most of them are sentimental and may be part of the legacy you leave behind. Making sure that digital assets can be properly accessed and maintained is also part of modern estate planning.
For parents – estate planning also appoints guardians for minors and dependents to ensure continuation of care.
For business owners – estate planning also provides succession plans to ensure your family receives appropriate business interests while protecting any co-owners and ensuring the business stays in intact.
To get started with your comprehensive estate plan, please contact Stouffer Legal at 443-470-3599 in the Greater Baltimore area.