estate planning

Estate Planning Overview

Who is a candidate for estate planning? Anyone who owns anything (whether car, home, bank account, furniture, or any other personal possessions) and is likely to die someday (everyone). If you don’t have a plan, the state will provide one for you, whether or not you like it. Estate planning allows you to decide not only who will receive your things, but also:

  • Directs your care in the case of disability. If you do not have instructions down in writing, the court will control guardianship, not your family.

  • Appoints a guardian for your children. Without an intentional estate plan, the court will appoint a guardian regardless of any wishes you may have had before your death.

  • Decides not only “what” but also “when” your heirs may receive your possessions. If you have loved ones who are irresponsible with money or may need future protection, an estate plan can assign an inheritance manager.

  • Determines how your business is to be transferred on your retirement, disability, or death.

  • Protects your family from unnecessary legal fees and court tussles over your assets.

Keep in mind that estate planning is an ongoing event, subject to changes in family, financial situations, and laws. If you change your mind about any of your decisions, you can always change your estate plan. Better to be prepared than to leave your family to pick up the pieces.

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