Every person has an estate if they possess an item and should have a say in what happens to their possessions upon their demise. That simply means estate planning is essential. Actually, anyone who owns a checking or savings account, a vehicle, clothing, personal possessions, life insurance, a home, or any tangible item actually has an estate, regardless of how big or how small it is. The purpose of estate planning is to outline where these items go when people die as they are unable to take those items with them. It’s a fact of life that no one lives forever, so an estate plan should be created immediately by anyone of legal age.
The Purpose of Estate Planning
Estate planning, ensures a person retains control over what happens to their belongings when they die. This is more than just stating who gets an item, however. It also involves outlining exactly what each person is to receive and when they are to be given possession of it. There may be situations where items should remain in trust for a period of time before they are turned over to the designated party. For example, reaching legal age could be a requirement. The estate plan details this and functions to ensure those who do benefit from the estate pay as little as possible in court fees, legal fees, and taxes.
Other Things Included In An Estate Plan
In addition to explaining where the person’s possessions are to go, the estate plan may be used to provide other information about the decedent’s wishes. The individual may include instructions for what type of care they wish to receive in the event they become disabled and unable to speak for themselves as well as information on who they would like to have named guardian for any minor children. The estate plan may also detail how the deceased would like his or her valuables to be passed on and how to provide for loved ones who cannot care for themselves.
There may be instructions on how to provide care for loved ones with special needs who is currently receiving benefits from the government, as these benefits could be terminated if the estate plan is not carefully laid out. Business owners need to have a provision in the plan that covers what will happen to their share of the business if they become disabled or die, and life insurance or long-term care insurance may be included in the plan.
The Importance Of Continuous Estate Planning
Estate planning is not a one-time process. Family needs change over time, as do financial situations, thus the plan should be reviewed regularly to ensure it still meets the needs of the individual who requested it. Furthermore, laws are frequently updated and modified, and the plan needs to ensure it will still be carried out as written with these changes and modifications. If not, it will need to be updated.
When To Plan One’s Estate
Individuals often assume an estate plan is for those who are retired, yet that is not the case. Every person should have a plan of this type, as one can never know what life holds. Income should not be a factor when determining if an estate plan is needed either, as everyone has something of value in their life, even if it is nothing more than the clothes on their back. In fact, experts often state that those who have less need an estate plan more than the wealthy, as they have less they can afford to lose when passing on to their heirs. For this reason, estate planning is essential at every age.
What Happens When There Is No Estate Plan
In the event a person becomes disabled or dies and doesn’t have an estate plan in place, the state determines who will be made guardian or conservator or administrator over the person’s assets. The term varies by state, but the person given this power has the same responsibilities. Probate laws determine what happens when a person dies with no intentional estate plan, and the laws vary by state here also. When minor children are left behind with no parent, the state also determines guardianship for them. Having an estate plan ensures the state, the court, and family members know exactly what the deceased wished to see happen, so estate planning should never be delayed.
Contact Stephen O. Allaire for anything related to estate planning/ Known for his compassionate counsel and proven results, Attorney Allaire understands the importance of having an estate plan in place and what these documents need to cover. This depends on each client’s unique situation and he works closely with every client to make certain their document is comprehensive and meets their needs. Don’t delay, as life can be gone in a flash. Make certain everyone knows what to do in the event of an untimely demise.
At Allaire Elder Law, we provide estate planning services for seniors. We proudly offer estate planning in Bristol, CT, as well as surrounding cities, including Plymouth, Harwinton, Litchfield, West Hartford, Simsbury, Winsted, Barkhamsted, Wolcott, Thomaston, Watertown, Cheshire, Meriden, Avon, Canton, Farmington, Plainville, Southington, and Newington, CT.