Transferring the management of assets if and when you are unable to manage them yourself due to disability or death is the basic reason for an estate plan. This goes for people with $100 or $100 million. You already have an estate plan, because every state has laws, known as the Laws of Intestacy, addressing how assets are managed and who will inherit your assets if you do not have a will created. However, the estate plan created by your state’s laws might not be what you want, explains the article “Auditing Your Estate Plan” appearing in Forbes.
To take more control over your estate, you’ll want to have an estate planning attorney create an estate plan drafted to achieve your goals. To do so, you’ll need to start by defining your estate planning objectives. Are you trying to:
- Provide for a surviving spouse or family?
- Save on income taxes now?
- Save on estate and gift taxes later?
- Provide for children later?
- Give assets to a charity?
- Provide for retirement income?
- Protect assets and beneficiaries from creditors?
Reviewing your estate plan, especially if you haven’t done so in more than three years, will show whether any of your goals have changed. You’ll need to review wills, trusts, powers of attorney, healthcare powers of attorney, beneficiary designation forms, insurance policies and joint accounts.
Preparing for incapacity is just as important as distributing assets. Who should manage your medical, financial and legal affairs? Designating a person, or multiple persons, to act on your behalf, and making your wishes clear and enforceable with estate planning documents, will give you and your loved ones security. You are ready, and they will be ready to help you if something unexpected occurs.
Reference: Forbes (Sep. 23, 2020) “Auditing Your Estate Plan”