What is an Estate Plan and Why do I Need One?

No one likes to think about their own mortality and therefore many people do not plan for how they want their estate to be distributed. That leaves their families and the courts to figure it out.

An estate plan allows an individual to decide exactly who will benefit from their estate and how those people will benefit.

What is an Estate Plan?

An estate plan is a series of documents that direct how your estate should be distributed upon your death and incapacitation – when you’re not dead, but you are not able to make decisions for yourself.

Estate planning is not “one size fits all.” The type of estate planning documents you need depends on your assets, your heirs, and your wishes. Estate plans can be changed during your lifetime and should be re-evaluated and adjusted as your circumstances change. Estate plans can range from a simple one page will to multiple complex trusts.

Below are some brief descriptions of the types of documents that can be included in your estate plan,

What is a will?

A will is a document in which you can express your wishes as to how your property is to be distributed. In a Will you nominate a person, the Executor, to manage your estate until the distribution is final. To distribute an estate through a will, the will must be authenticated by the Court first and the Court supervises the estate distribution. Then the named executor will work with the court to ensure that the assets are distributed. This process is called Probate.

What is probate?

Probate subjects your money to all your creditors. Avoiding probate is the goal of estate planning to save on the cost of the lawyers to administer the estate through the courts and to prevent creditors from access to estate funds – saving it all for your heirs!

What is a trust?

Similar to a will, this document allows you to express how your estate is to be distributed, however it does not have to go through probate. There many different types of trusts, the type of trust you need is determined by the assets you are wanting to distribute, who you want to distribute the assets to, how you want them distributed, and when you want them distributed.

What is Power of Attorney?

Unlike the above the documents, a Power of Attorney is effective while you are alive. A Power of Attorney authorizes a person of your choosing to act on your behalf. There are different types of Power of Attorney including medical, financial and general.

So why do I need an Estate Plan?

There are many reasons that someone needs an estate plan. Most people want to be able to decide or have some control on how their estate is distributed after their death. This gives you peace of mind and your loved ones, too. By doing the work for them, your loved ones do not have to figure out how to distribute your estate, hopefully reducing stress and unnecessary drama that always accompanies the families of folks when they die.

A comprehensive estate plan can also reduce estate and inheritance taxes, protect your assets, and avoid unnecessary court cases, expenses and costs.

No one wants to think about their own mortality and what effect your death will have on their loved ones but avoiding the subject can cause your loved ones more stress during a very difficult time. By planning ahead and continuing to adjust your estate plan as needed, your loved ones will be able to enjoy the legacy you choose to leave them.

Here’s an article in Time Magazine that offers some good tips: https://time.com/5640494/why-you-need-to-make-a-when-i-die-file-before-its-too-late/?fbclid=IwAR3XSCVVjvP7aljwBgE51Ne3Fmd2hxofSSEM4GSlWLIy06NO-ZgKPSLHKpM

We Can Help

If you are looking for effective legal representation from an Arkansas law firm that won’t break the bank, look for us at lionlegal.com. We will help you figure out your options and what the likely realistic result is in your circumstances. Say the word and we’ll come Roaring to the Rescue!

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Case evaluations are completely free. Call Lion Legal Services today at (501) 227-ROAR (that’s 227-7627) or Email Us to set up a free consultation.