Estate Planning Basics

Due to its rather morbid nature, many people put off estate planning for far longer than they should. Though it can be difficult to think about, it is essential to make a plan for how your assets should be divided and distributed upon your death. Because estate planning can often be a complicated matter, it is best to seek the services of an estate planning attorney as well as a financial adviser when making your estate plan.

Who Should Consider Estate Planning?

You may think estate planning is only necessary for the extremely wealthy, but that is not the case. In fact, no matter how high or low your net worth is at the time of your death, having an estate plan in place is beneficial to people of all income levels because of the amount of involvement you are able to have in important financial decisions that affect your whole family.

For instance, an estate plan allows you to specifically name the people whom you wish to give your assets. If it is in the estate plan it will be legally binding. This is an especially useful way to make sure your final wishes will be carried out exactly as you intended.

How Estate Planning Benefits Your Beneficiaries

Another benefit of having an estate plan is that you can maximize the assets you leave behind by pre-planning how each of your assets will pass to your beneficiaries and then planning accordingly to make sure as little of the money as possible is lost to taxes and other fees. For example, a tax professional or estate planning attorney can advise you how much you can give each beneficiary up to a certain limit before incurring a hefty estate tax. By having an estate plan and thinking ahead about how to divide your assets, you can make sure your loved ones receive the inheritance you envisioned for them.

What Does an Estate Plan Include?

Your estate plan can include several fundamental components, such as a will, the assignment of a power of attorney who can manage your affairs if you become unable to do so, a living will, which states your wishes for any medical intervention you do or don’t want in the event of accident or terminal illness, and a healthcare proxy authorizing a trusted family member or friend to make medical decisions on your behalf. Having these important legal documents drafted ahead of time can not only help you be certain that your requests will be adhered to by your survivors, but also can help alleviate some of the stress and uncertainty that can come with bereavement and allow your relatives and friends peace of mind that they are doing exactly what you wanted.

Contact Our Estate Planning Attorneys

The estate planning attorneys at Waltz & Downer can give you the legal guidance you need to draft an effective, legally-binding estate plan that covers every detail and leaves no important question unanswered. If you are in the Thibodaux, LA area and would like to schedule a consultation for your estate planning needs, Contact Waitz & Downer today at 985-876-0870.