Estate planning helps you plan for your passing, but it also plans for the potential incapacity during your lifetime. It can help with planning during your lifetime, and it certainly helps with planning upon your passing. A good estate plan makes the transition upon your passing smoother for your loved ones. It can certainly help with reducing the amount of taxes that you have to pay to the government. An estate plan gives you control over your assets and over making decisions that you have the capacity to make right now but might not in the future. By creating an estate plan, you are able to convey your wishes now to your loved ones so that they can avoid family conflict in the future.
Is Estate Planning Just For What Happens After I Die Or Could It Also Benefit Me During My Lifetime?
Estate planning can absolutely benefit you during your lifetime. Again, estate planning includes those wishes that you have with respect to your person, which is your medical care, where you live, what happens with your finances during your lifetime. If you are incapacitated and cannot make those decisions, your estate plan makes your wishes known. Another instance when an estate plan can be helpful is if you are out of the country for some reason, an appointed family member or loved one can make decisions for you regarding your finances.
How Early Should I Start Doing My Estate Planning Documents? Is There An Ideal Age, Is It Ever Too Early Or Too Late?
It is never too early to begin your estate planning, because none of us know how long we are going to be here. We also do not know if we are going to become incapacitated at any given time. We do not know if we might be shipped overseas for a job. The earlier you start, it is generally better, once you turn 18. Due to the cost of probate without something in place if you pass before you would expect to, it would be better to have an estate plan in place. It lessens the cost and burden on your family. An estate plan clearly lets your family know what your wishes are. Estate plans are not set in stone once written; they can be modified and changed throughout your life.
What Are The Important Documents Or Components That Everyone Should Have As Part Of Their Estate Plan?
At a minimum, everyone should have a will. It is also advisable to have some sort of a durable power of attorney in place for the financial side and a power of attorney for the medical side of life, should you become incapacitated. It is also good to have a living will or a physician’s directive. In the even that you become incapacitated, having these documents in place are vital for every individual. It will help avoid or lessen the need for a guardianship and reduce stress for your family and loved ones.
If you have children under the age of 18, you should always include a designation of guardianship. You should also include a designation of guardianship for both your person and your estate, so that if your powers of attorney fail for some reason your guardian will know your wishes.
What Exactly Is A Will And Is It Enough On Its Own?
A will is a document that codifies your plan after you pass. It details how you would like your assets distributed and to whom those assets are to receive them upon your death. Whether a will is enough on its own in Texas depends on the size of your estate. If you do not have a very large estate but just a few items you would like transferred upon death, then it could be enough on its own. Often you cannot make that determination until you fully know what is in your estate and how you want them all distributed, so it really revolves around what your end-goals are for the distribution of your estate.
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