Many people believe estate plans are just for the wealthy. Yet this is not the case. Everyone needs to consider meeting with an attorney to make an estate plan. Why? Most people have some debt or own something of value. Making plans to have someone else manage loans or credit cards if you cannot, will ensure these debts are appropriately managed. Even more importantly, is the need to make sure that if you should become incapacitated or unable to make decisions financially or medically, your wishes are carried out through an estate plan.
Think of an estate plan as not only a way to ensure you have someone to make medical and financial decisions for you but also a way for you to decide where your assets should go. Sometimes, creating a will seems to be an adequate estate plan; however, consulting with an elder law and estate planning attorney can help you make sure you have also followed through with such tasks as designating beneficiaries for your retirement plans. For example, it is not enough to leave your retirement plan to someone in your will. You also need to establish a beneficiary with the plan. The same thing applies to any retirement plan that you have personally set up. You need to make sure you take the proper steps to identify the beneficiary with the financial group where you set up the plan.
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There are other considerations as well in creating an estate plan. You may want to make sure your loved ones are well taken care of and would like to minimize taxes for any assets you leave to them. There are options available to you, but understanding the best way to preserve your assets requires knowing current tax laws—something an elder law and estate planning attorney at Bratton Law Group can explain to you.
Another reason to have an estate plan is to avoid family conflict and to make sure everyone gets what you want them to have in the event you are gone. Proper planning identifies all your assets and how they should be distributed after you are gone to avoid anything being overlooked at the time of your death.
During your lifetime, you may have acquired assets that your family and loved ones may not know about in addition to retirement benefits, and including all your assets into one plan will make sure that nothing is overlooked or forgotten. People will sometimes make a will and then, later on, acquire more property or assets that they mistakenly think will just be included in the will. This is not always the case and rather than have a long drawn out process for settling your estate, making sure you account for all up to date assets and resources in your estate plan is essential.
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