If you own property and assets, you may wonder exactly what will happen to it all after you pass.
Estate planning allows you to determine exactly where and to whom your estate transfers when you are gone.
What is estate planning?
A proper estate plan is legally binding and details where each of your assets will go. Without it, state law will determine who inherits your money and property. Additionally, your family will go through the costly and time-consuming process of probate court. If you establish an estate plan before your death, you allow your family an easier transition and may help them avoid hefty tax payments.
What are the components of a basic plan?
The fundamentals of a solid estate plan include:
- A living trust assigns a trustee to manage your assets if you cannot. You can choose someone as your trustee while you are alive and after your pass. You may also act as your own trustee while living and appoint a person or agency to take over upon your death.
- A will is legal documentation detailing what happens to your assets when you pass.
- Power of attorney assigns legal authority to someone that represents you when you are no longer able to make decisions, including financial decisions, for yourself.
- An end-of-life medical care plan stipulates what you want in terms of medical care should you face the end of your life.
The ultimate purpose of an estate plan is to provide ease of transition for your family during the difficult time of dealing with your death.