As you grow older and approach retirement, you’ll realize that it may be the time to create an estate plan. However, you may be unsure about your goals or how to best execute them. Many people encounter this issue when creating their estate plan, so our estate planning attorneys in San Diego want to help get you heading in the right direction.
Here are the five goals that you should accomplish with your estate plan:
Goal #1 – Taking Care of Your Loved Ones
Without a plan in place, the law will intervene and dictate how heirs of your estate will receive their inheritance. However, you should be the one who decides what assets you want to set aside and how your beneficiaries will receive them – not generic law at a later date. An estate plan ensures that you have a mechanism in place to control who gets what and how that happens should anything happen to you.
When creating an estate plan, you also ensure that your family will not have to wade through an arduous court process to settle your affairs. This includes the transfer of real estate holdings, businesses, and private equity, all without having to go through a court supervised process. With the right plan in place, you can continue to treat (and spend) your hard-earned assets like you do now but have an exit plan in place for what to do with any remainder when you’re no longer around to see to its direction.
Goal #2 – Avoiding Probate
Probate is a complex and tedious process that will cause a lot of frustration for your family. It can also be expensive and potentially cost your family years in court and tens of thousands of dollars. You should also know that probate can result in family disputes, which can prolong the entire process.
Planning your estate ahead of time will ultimately help eliminate the possibility of probate and infighting. You certainly don’t want your family arguing over ownership of the property you’re passing along and having a clear plan in place ahead of time is one of the best ways to avoid this. Ultimately, your goal should be to transfer all of your belongings without subjecting your family to probate proceedings.
Goal #3 – Reducing Your Tax Liability
Estate taxes can be incredibly costly, potentially consuming a substantial portion of your assets. If your estate value is over the Federal Estate Tax Exemption limit ($12.06 million per person at the time of this article), estate planning efforts will go a long way in reducing your tax liability. You can utilize different techniques that help preserve your assets by shifting them out of your taxable estate, but every plan involving tax strategy must be custom crafted around your unique circumstances.
Goal #4 – Properly Managing Your Assets
You don’t want your family to lose or forfeit your assets for any reason whatsoever – you’ve worked hard your entire life for everything you own. Divorces, lawsuits, and judgments from creditors can be extremely costly and detrimental to your estate without a proper plan in place.
Effectively planning your estate will ensure that you can manage and protect your assets for generations to come. You should take matters into your own hands and prevent anyone from jeopardizing the inheritances you want to leave behind for your beneficiaries.
Goal #5 – Planning for Incapacitation
Medical emergencies and hardships can also occur unexpectedly, causing potential incapacitation which may prevent you from managing and making changes to your estate. You can plan for incapacitation by establishing a Durable Power of Attorney for medical and financial matters and making your wishes known ahead of time. By taking this step you keep your family out of court asking for a conservatorship over you at a later time.
Estate Planning Made Simple
Are you ready to begin devising and executing your estate plan? The legal experts here at Jenkins & Jenkins can help you get started. We provide services for many families throughout California that want to protect their loved ones by preparing for the unexpected.
Testimonial from Dolores, Satisfied Estate Planning Client
From the moment we met Caroline during our first meeting, we knew without a doubt that we had made the best decision for our estate planning needs. Caroline was extremely kind, caring, knowledgeable and empathetic. The entire process went smoothly, and we couldn’t be happier and relieved knowing our Living Trust was handled by such a capable and well-respected attorney whom we highly recommend. Thank you so much Caroline.