Plenty of people think estate planning is only for elderly, wealthy individuals. They may think estate planning holds few benefits for those who are younger or of modest means. The truth is, you don’t have to be rich and elderly to reap the benefits of estate planning! You can benefit from it right now.
Estate planning can accomplish so much both for your current peace of mind and for your beneficiaries when you do pass away. It’s a smart step that should be as commonplace as buying real estate, donating to a favorite charity, or delving into financial planning as you pass through various life stages. Eager to know more about the advantages of estate planning? Read on to learn the 10 benefits of estate planning in California.
1. Get Property to Loved Ones Quickly
With a proper estate plan, your beneficiaries can avoid the long and tiresome probate process. If you layout how you want your current assets distributed, the entire legal process of inheritance takes a short time. Your family won’t encounter a difficult time in paying their bills or making your funeral arrangements when you die, and any outstanding medical bills or credit card debt will also be paid on time. Do you see the benefits of estate planning at work already?
2. Save on Expenses
As we just laid out, estate planning helps your family to avoid the probate process during major life events like property distribution. As an added bonus, your family gets to save on many expenses, such as attorney fees and other court costs.
If you don’t leave an estate plan behind, such an orderly transition is impossible. Your assets for beneficiaries instead undergo a potentially time-consuming legal procedure. And as you know, all court processes call for some monetary charges (court fees).
In California, the courts charge fees to address issues such as:
- Distribution of your assets
- Determination of guardianship for your minor children
- Dissolution of your company or business
It’s quite expensive to address these issues before a court. In fact, the overall costs may exceed $10,000. Thus, one of the benefits of an estate plan is that your family gets to avoid a lot of expenses!
3. Provide for Your Family
When you die, you might leave behind a handful of dependents. If your family manages to access the money you left in your bank accounts swiftly, they can avoid financial hardship.
A cornerstone of estate planning is avoiding probate. Even with your unexpected death or incapacitation, if you’ve put together an estate plan, your family can conveniently pay their bills and living expenses. You won’t leave behind a broken family that cannot sustain itself, and the chances of family strife will be lower during property distribution. You also need to have good life insurance policies in place, so be sure to investigate that as well.
4. Avoid Child Protective Services
Imagine this scenario—you are driving back home with your spouse and a fatal accident happens. Your minor kids are waiting for you at home, but sadly they’ll never see you again. Who will take care of your minor children if you make one of the more costly estate planning mistakes by not choosing a guardian?
Estate planning can help you avoid all this. For the sake of your kids, an estate plan enables you to choose a potential guardian for your children. It’s not a good thing to see the court deciding on your behalf the guardians of your kids, and as long as you take this step, you won’t need the court to step in and potentially put your kids in child protective services.
5. Plan for Incapacitation
You never know what the future holds. Today you can walk, talk, and make key decisions on your own, but tomorrow you might not have the capacity to do everything. Incapacitation can happen anytime for so many reasons. Have you planned who’ll oversee your estate if this should happen to you?
With a bit of estate planning, you can choose the type of medical attention you’ll receive when you can no longer make such decisions on your own. Also, you get to choose who will make business decisions on your behalf. Drafting an estate plan enables you to choose a power of attorney that will handle your medical decisions and financial decisions. When you become incapacitated, therefore, you’ll already have made the personal health care decisions you need.
6. Plan for Good Retirement
Everyone wishes for a peaceful retirement. Despite that, many people do not know how to achieve it. A good retirement requires planning.
Estate planning doesn’t only help your family in the future. A living will, also a form of estate planning, may also help you when you retire from your profession. How will you cater to your medical treatments when you’re no longer working? Have you enrolled in the Medicare program? These are some of the questions to ask if you’ve not started to make your retirement plans.
A living will estate plan helps you to achieve a fruitful retirement, taking into account potential medical expenses. If you plan ahead, your family won’t have to go the extra mile in seeking funds for your hospital bills or nursing home costs.
7. Reduce Tax Obligations
To avoid exposing your family to the additional burden of paying extra estate tax when you die, you must do proper estate planning. When still alive and healthy, you can perform tax planning for your estate. Your family doesn’t need to inherit taxes that you should have paid earlier or avoided altogether.
One of the best ways to leave behind a financially stable family is to safeguard your assets from estate taxes. Many people accomplish this by setting aside irrevocable trusts, living trusts, or other financial assets that reduce their taxable estate. Check out this article on trusts in estate planning for more information.
8. Help Your Family Make Hard Decisions
An estate plan is a great tool for reference when your family needs to make some key decisions on your behalf. At some point, your family may find it challenging to make key healthcare decisions when something bad happens to you. When in a coma, what should your family do? Should they let you die or otherwise?
To address this, you should include living a clause in your estate plan that gives a medical directive when things turn worse on your side. You can also do proper planning on how you want your body disposed of when you perish. Depending on your culture, you may also need to pass to your family information concerning your final resting place. This saves your family from having to make critical decisions.
9. Safeguard Your Business or Company
When death or incapacitation knocks at your door, many things could change towards the negative. Your successful business is one of such things. Have you planned on how your business will continue making profits even without your existence? Do you have a drafted copy of how you would want key financial decisions made? Proper business succession planning can help you achieve this.
In your estate plan, you can pick a trusted individual to run your business on your family’s behalf. Ensure a smooth business succession to uphold the core values of your business. Address any financial affairs that may affect your business when still alive. This also safeguards the financial well-being of your family as mentioned above.
10. Support Your Favorite Cause
Do you want to be remembered for something after you die? Is it your religious devotion or love for a certain educational ideology? During estate planning, you can indicate in your will that you would wish part of your property to be used to support a certain religious or educational perspective. Alternatively, you can state the portion of your wealth you want to be given out to charity.
However small the contribution may look, it’s always good to leave something behind worth a remembrance. You can include all this information in your estate plan and even select a living trust to oversee such issues upon your death. Your estate plan will therefore benefit the society you leave behind.
Do You Need Help with Estate Planning?
Developing a proper estate plan is not an easy journey. However, it is not a must to look for an estate planning attorney. With the help of a legal document assistant, you can put everything in order. At A People’s Choice, you will receive the best guidance on estate planning services. Our legal document preparation service can help in drafting a:
- A good medical power of attorney
- A living will
- Medical care directive
- Other estate planning documents
With our qualified team of legal professionals, we guarantee a successful estate planning process. To get started, just visit us here or contact us at 800-747-2780.
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