Estate planning is a topic that often conjures up images of mansions, yachts, and large corporation board rooms. When you ask the average person about estate planning, they will usually brush it off by saying that they don't have an estate to plan. But the truth is that every single adult has an estate, and that estate could wind up going to the wrong people if you do not make the proper arrangements.
Many people confuse estate planning with getting a will made. There are many elements to estate planning, and a will is just one of them. With estate planning, you can make sure that the traditions you have established in your family are carried onto the next generation, and you can also secure your family's financial future.
Estate planning allows you to decide what happens to your possessions after you pass away, and it also makes sure that your family gets the family home. If you do absolutely no estate planning, then your family will be saddled with your debt after you pass away, and the state government could take your home.
If you were to suddenly pass away, could your family continue to pay the bills? Have you made provisions for your spouse or some other family member to assume control of your home? Estate planning means putting insurance policies and the legal framework in place to make sure that your family can face the mountain of debt they will be left with, and that the family home remains safe with your loved ones.
Formal estate planning includes funding for the causes you are passionate about, and the continuance of the family traditions that you held dear. A good attorney can make certain that your favorite charitable causes get the funding you want them to have, and that your family honors your wishes for traditions and conduct.
Many families have burial traditions that go back generations, and your estate planning can ensure that those traditions are honored. Your attorney will see to it that your final wishes are followed, and that your family name is preserved.
A good life insurance policy can pay off your debt and take care of the costs of your funeral, but what about your business dealings? When you pass away, your business partners may be lining up to go against your wishes when it comes to a succession path. But with estate planning, you are assured that there will be money available to keep the company going, and that all of your succession plans will go through.
An estate is any type of assets or income that you may accrue throughout your life. Your estate is also made up of your debt and financial obligations. Without estate planning, there are no assurances that your final wishes will be honored. There are also no assurances that your family will be financially taken care of when you are gone.
Estate planning can also help you to plan for your own future by including provisions for full or partial disability, and offering investment vehicles that can be used as retirement income. You don't need to be rich to use estate planning. You just need to care about your family's future, and the legacy you will leave behind.