When people think of estate planning, they often believe that all they need is a good last will and testament to cover all their needs. While this is true in some cases, most people could actually benefit from other types of estate planning tools. Having a well-thought out estate plan today can help protect your assets now, and ensure they are used how you want them when you are gone. A will is a good place to start, but the following are examples of things that a will just can not cover.
What Happens If You Become Incapacitated?
A will can handle a lot of things once you have passed on, but what about before that. If you become incapacitated due to an accident, injury, or illness, for example, what do you want to see happen? Identifying who should make medical decisions, who should care for your kids, and other things can’t be determined by a will. Instead, you will need to make sure that you have other legal documents such as legal power of attorney, medical power of attorney, and more.
Keeping Assets Out of Probate
A will provides instructions on what you want to happen with your assets after you are gone. When the time comes, however, a will can’t keep your estate out of probate court. This means your loved ones will have to go through the probate process, which is potentially long and expensive, in order to get the things you want them to have. If you use a trust or other estate planning vehicle, however, your assets will typically be able to pass along without going through the probate process at all.
Helping to Protect Privacy
When your estate passes through the probate court, it becomes a matter of public record. This means everyone will be able to look up what each of your loved ones received from your estate. For many people, this is an unwanted violation of their privacy. If you use estate planning tools properly, you can have everything pass on to your loved ones without any need to be exposed to the public. This can be especially important when leaving large sums of money, firearms, or other assets that you might not want made public knowledge.
A will can help you to give money to your favorite charity or charities after you pass away. Once the money is given to the charity, however, they will be able to do whatever they would like with it. If you set up a charitable trust, on the other hand, you can leave specific instructions on how you want the money to be used. Having this added layer of control can ensure your assets are helping to accomplish the things you feel passionate about.
Start Your Estate Plan Today
Whether you already have a last will and testament in place or not, now is the time to make sure your estate plan is set up to meet your specific needs and desires. Nobody knows what the future will bring, so don’t put off your estate planning another day. Contact us to go over your options and start getting everything taken care of right away.