What will happen to all of your assets when your estate has to be disbursed? Having a good estate plan in place is a must; otherwise the state will determine how to distribute your assets. The Financial Guys are Buffalo, New York’s experienced estate planning professionals that also service Western New York and beyond.
Many people don’t think about estate planning until later on in life but that can be a mistake. It’s never too early to start mapping out how you’d like your estate distributed and what your wishes are upon death. A good estate plan contains several different elements including; a will, a living will, power of attorney and a trust if necessary.
It doesn’t matter what point of life you’re in, every person needs to have a will in place. A will dictates how your estate will be distributed and it also covers who will care for your children if they are still minors when you pass. Not having a will in place can mean unneeded stress for your family and your estate being held up in court for years to come. Even if you already have a will, when was the last time that you looked at it or updated it? Situations change all of the time and you still want to update it even if there’s no change in the beneficiaries. You may have added wealth or assets that you didn’t have before and you don’t want to leave any stone unturned.
Power of Attorney
What would happen if you weren’t able to sign documents, make out checks to pay bills or access money for your family? A Power of Attorney document is drafted by an attorney and it gives authorization for someone else (a person you choose) to be able to handle your affairs if for some reason you can’t yourself. Having a Power of Attorney in place will give you the comfort of knowing that your obligations will be taken care of. No one plans to get severely ill or be disabled but if unexpected life events come your way, you’ll be protected.
A living will is also known as an advanced health care directive. In the event that you’re unable to make decisions about your healthcare, a living will directs how your health care should be handled.
A trust states the conditions of how your estate will be distributed upon your death. It also includes when your estate will be distributed. For example, if you want to leave money to a certain family member, you could put a condition on it so that the family member receives it at a certain time or when they reach a certain age. This is a popular option when a family member wants to leave money to a minor in the family or for a specific purpose (to pay for education for example).
Trusts can also reduce taxes on the estate or lessen the tax burden on money that would otherwise be considered a gift. Each person’s situation is different and The Financial Guys will go over all of the options with you.
Whether you’re in the early stages of life, you’ve retired or anywhere in between, The Financial Guys will help you meet your estate planning goals.
This material is not intended to replace the advice of a qualified tax or legal professional. Before making any financial commitment, consult with your tax adviser or attorney.