When Should You Start?
When is the right time to start planning for your estate? The answer is “now.” No matter how much wealth a person has, everyone needs to plan for the unforeseeable, and the best way to get started is by doing your own research. Once you begin, you might quickly discover that estate planning encompasses not just deeds and wills, but also trusts, businesses, family estate plans, estate tax, and probate court. It may seem overwhelming, but don’t worry – that’s what this article is here for. In this article, we’ll take a look at legal estate planning and asset protection – all simplified for you.
Why Is Estate Planning Necessary?
First and foremost, you should know that estate planning is the legal response to the question: “What happens to my possessions after I die?” Who gets your Honda Civic, your childhood home, your bank accounts, or your grandmother’s wedding ring? Well, if you’re under the age of 21, you don’t have to worry about any of that yet. However, once you become a legal adult, here are some signs that you should start estate planning:
- When you purchase a residence or some property of your own.
- When you get a personal Savings Account
- When you are planning to leave the country and relocate elsewhere.
- When you get married.
- When you have children of your own.
- When you inherit some property from someone down the line.
- When new members add up to your family, i.e., when new progenitors arrive.
- When your spouse dies, or you get a divorce.
The list goes on and on, and while we won’t cover every specific scenario here, you should contact the leading estate law planning firms in your area to see how your specific situation can be resolved.
When To Make A Trust?
So let’s say you’re doing your due diligence and starting estate planning early. A question you might have is: “What is the best estate plan for me?” That depends on a lot of factors, but a general rule of the thumb is that if you have properties, it would be best for you to get a trust. If you do not have properties or any significant assets, then having a simple or enhanced will should suffice.
Keep in mind that you will still have to go to probate court if you have a will, but the good thing about not owning any properties is that the probate court will often exempt you from the probate process. Alternatively, you can hire a lawyer to file a petition for you to exempt you from the process.
If you’re interested in creating a trust, then it is important that you keep tabs on your properties. Properties include physical properties such as land, houses, and so forth. They also include any businesses or incorporations you own. If you have properties and die with just a will, then you open up those businesses and lands to claims from people who you do not trust, including the government entities. By creating a trust, you are essentially putting all of your assets in a secure bank vault. Having a trust also means that you can appoint Trustees, who are individuals that serve as managers of your trust, to distribute your assets after you pass.
When Should You Update Your Estate Plan?
Let’s say you’ve already created a trust and established a will. You might think that’s the end of estate planning, but that’s only the beginning. Estate plans are legal documents, and all documents become outdated at one point or another. Once you complete your estate plan, it is recommended that you visit your family law attorney or the legal firm who helped you with your trust every two to three years. Annual reviews should involve you updating addresses and names of your agents, adding people to your will, and updating the statuses of your properties. By keeping your trust and will up to date, you can also avoid future legal conflicts.
Need Of A Will
One last thing to clarify is that a will and trust are not alternatives. A will is the document that designates who gets your assets. A trust is an entity that you create to store your properties, usually for the purpose of keeping them out of the hands of the court. Having just a will when you pass will result in your relatives having to go to court. Having both a will and a trust will exempt you from the probate process.
Whether you have properties or not, as long as you have valuable possessions or bank accounts of any sort, a will is a must-have. A trust will depend on your situation.
With the right estate planning, you can pass down your assets to your children and legal beneficiaries, and also protect your family and loved one’s futures from any unnecessary legal procedures. The best time to start estate planning is now, so it’s recommended that you start looking for leading estate planning service providers as soon as you can.