If you are like millions of other Americans, you work hard to provide for yourself and your loved ones. Perhaps you are just starting a family, or have been blessed with grandchildren and are nearing retirement.
Perhaps you are widowed but planning to remarry in the future. And perhaps you are just now starting to give thought to what would happen to your loved ones after you are gone.
Irrespective of your present family dynamics, you look with pride on what you have achieved and the assets (modest or otherwise) that you have accumulated – stocks, bonds, real estate, life insurance, retirement plans, etc. You may even own a small business that you hope to pass on to a family member or friend some day.
It is estimated that more than 120 million Americans do not have proper estate plans to protect themselves or their families in the event of sickness, accidents, or untimely death. This costs many families wasted dollars and unnecessary hardship that can be minimized with proper planning.
Like the majority of Americans, you may not have a plan in place that:
- protects your heirs or beneficiaries from potential creditors
- protects you or your spouse in the event of incapacitation
- ensures that asset distribution to your beneficiaries is fair
- protects your children’s inherited assets from divorcing spousesand lawsuits
You have probably arrived at the conclusion that you want the power to decide:
- who will receive your assets upon your death;
- what they will receive;
- when they will receive it; and
- how they will receive it.
Although some consumers may think that a simple Will is sufficient for estate planning purposes, what many do not realize is that a Will must go through probate and is subject to the purview of the court system –a government process that can be long, costly, public and allows an opportunity for disgruntled heirs to air their grievances.
Furthermore, the probate process is normally required in each state in which the individual who died owned assets in his or her individual name, and when multiple states are involved, the probate process becomes even more complicated and expensive.
That is why it is important to work with a knowledgeable estate planning attorney who can determine which legal documents are required to protect your assets in accordance with your wishes.
Working with an estate planning attorney will give you the peace of mind you deserve and the confidence to know that your assets will be distributed according to your wishes.