An Intro Guide on Estate Planning

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There is a stigma that estate planning is only applicable to wealthy individuals with million of dollars in assets. However, if you have children, elderly parents, savings, or a home, estate planning is necessary in order to ensure the protection of your assets in case the worst happens. Unfortunately, 64% of the American population does not have a will including over half of Americans aged 55 to 64 not having a will. Developing a living will is the only way to provide for your family in case something happens to you, and there are multiple legal services willing to help with will lawyers and estate planning lawyers.

Here is all you need to know about estate planning.

The first thing to do is to establish your family situation and assets. If you have a spouse, and if you have children are two of the most important questions. Then, you must look at your levels of assets in order to minimize the estate taxes you’ll pay federally and through your state. If you do not set up the correct beneficiaries, the state will posses your assets.

If you pass away without establish a life plan, your estate will go into the probate process. This is when the court publicly supervises your proceedings which can be extremely time consuming and expensive.

Simply put, your estate includes everything you own, anywhere in the world. This includes; your home or any real estate that you own, your business interests, a share of your joint accounts, the full value of your retirement accounts, your life insurance policies and any property owned by a trust over which you have significant control.

Because your will should include multiple documents, it is important to consult specialized legal services in order to make sure everything is filed properly.

This includes:

Revocable trust, the legal document that provides for the management and distribution of assets after your death.

Financial Power of Attorney, which allows someone else to carry on your financial affairs in the case you become disabled. It is important to settle this issue while you are healthy, as there have been many cases of exploitation of powers of attorneys amounting to $2.6 billion in 2009.

Beneficiary Designations, which are filed directly with your plan administrators, including IRAs and 401ks.

Consult a real estate planning attorney today to get this process started!

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