The Who, What, and How of Estate Planning

March 19, 2015
By
Jason Zundel

Does the thought of Estate Planning make you a bit uncomfortable? If it does, you're not alone. A recent study performed by Rocket Lawyer found that 51 percent of Americans aged 55 to 64 don't have an estate plan. Perhaps even more staggering is that 62 percent don't have a will. Of those who don't have a will, over 35 percent said it wasn't important or they didn't want to talk about the will. If you are part of that 51 percent without an estate plan, we recommend you begin thinking about one. We'd like to address a few frequently asked questions (FAQ's) about estate plans.

Why Do I Need an Estate Plan?

Preparing and properly documenting an estate plan can save you and your loved ones time, money, and headache after you are deceased. Proper estate planning requires thought and conversations that can be difficult, but having these conversations now can prevent argument about (or forfeiture of) your estate.  An Estate Planning attorney can help by asking all of the right questions and documenting everything necessary to ensure you are prepared for any unplanned circumstances.

What is an Estate Plan?

An Estate Plan is a set of documents (will, trust, etc.) that outline how your assets and personal obligations will be distributed among your survivors after you are deceased. Estate Plans offer financial and tax incentives to you and your loved ones, and provide peace of mind for you (and your partner, if applicable). We recommend that all individuals who are married or over age 18 and that have assets consider forming an estate plan, even if it be a simple Living Will. If you have substantial assets (in excess of $50,000) we recommend that you consider a more comprehensive estate plan.

What Happens if I Don't Make an Estate Plan?

Generally speaking, if you do not have a will (you die "intestate"), your surviving spouse and children will inherit your estate. However, there is no guarantee how your estate will be divided. Additionally, the guardianship of your children will be determined by the state if you have no surviving spouse.If you do not have an estate plan, the courts will determine how to distribute your assets through probate, which can be a lengthy and expensive process. If you do not make a proper estate plan, your loved ones may argue over how the estate should be divided. In any case, the outcome can be both financially and emotionally costly.

How Can I Find Out More?

At Sumsion Business Law, we provide Estate Planning services ranging from simple wills to complete estate plans. Our attorneys are capable and personable, and we seek to provide you with the best possible experience when planning for your future. Contact us today to find out more about our Estate Planning services.

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