Estate planning is the act of planning and organizing, through the life of a person, for the better management and disposition of his/her estate in case the afflicted person dies and if the person gets incapacitated. In most cases, the term estate refers to whole life and includes the belongings, money, shares, family relations and legacy passed on to the heir(s) by the deceased. The assets, liabilities, debts and estate are all included in it and the decisions regarding these matters are determined by a court after investigation and advice from legal experts. Therefore, proper estate planning can be ensured for securing the future of your loved ones and keeping your family’s living conditions safe and protected.
Establishing and executing an estate plan is a legal process that involves many details that need careful observation and the best possible legal council from a reliable attorney. Most people may not have any idea as to how this procedure works. To put it simply, estate planning is the act of making a will that outlines the wishes and the objectives of the deceased on the management and disposal of their assets after their death. It also includes the designation of guardians or personal representatives to handle the assets in behalf of the decedent. This will then grant them the right to decide where to spend their money and whether they should make use of their estate for their real estate investments, charities or legacy, as decided by them during their lifetime.
If the testator(s) become incapacitated, this plan no longer applies and his/her estate planning ends after his death. But if he/she had children, their inheritance will go through the family estate and it remains until the testator’s surviving children turn it over to another family member who is qualified to handle the assets according to the testator’s will. In some cases, when the testator’s estate is subject to a divorce, the testator’s decisions concerning his/her property and financial assets would determine who gets those assets. If the testator has designated a living trust, his/her decisions are respected even when the testator passes away.
Estate taxes, liabilities, and trusts are all issues when estate planning, so it is wise to seek professional help when you need it. One person who can help is a probate lawyer. An executor or probate accountant will handle probate proceedings when the deceased has no other living relatives. They can also help with the tax laws for the state where the deceased lived.
Probate attorneys will also handle the distribution of the estate to the heirs. This distribution is usually done according to the directions outlined in the probate settlement. For example, some will give their inheritance to the spouse, some to the children, others to the heirs. There are ways though to circumvent the distribution process. A person can create a will that specifically states that the distribution of assets is to be bypassed if the testator has expressly intended otherwise.
When you plan estate planning, you should take into account how it affects you. You want to leave something behind for your family, but at the same time not leave everything to chance or to be taken care of by someone else. You may be able to have legal opinions about who gets what assets, what needs to be done with them, or what needs to be transferred to another family member. Having a legal opinion can help you make the best decisions for you and your family.
It is important to consider the value of your belongings before passing on. If you have life insurance policies that expire while you are alive, you can choose to transfer the policy to a beneficiary who is younger than you are. If you have other investments that will benefit your beneficiaries when you die, you may wish to discuss these options with your attorney who is handling your estate planning. He or she can offer helpful advice about how to handle investments and assets, and what you can do with them after you pass on. If your probate estate planning includes some type of life insurance policy that has not yet expired, you might also need to talk to a probate lawyer about how to continue your coverage after you die.
Forced heirship occurs when one of your assets is transferred to a beneficiary without your permission or knowledge. This can happen if you have a will or trust, or you are married and both you and your wife are listed as beneficiaries. There are times when forced heirship cannot occur, such as when you are divorced or widowed, or when you die without leaving a will. You will need to discuss these possibilities with your attorney. There are times when you might be a beneficiary and you do not know it, or if you are simply a forced heir. Understanding how forced heirship affects your estate planning will help you decide whether you want to allow it to happen.