Estate Planning Basics

Estate Planning BasicsAs a recent news article points out, estate planning is a necessity for everyone, not just the extremely wealthy. While the federal estate tax exemption may have now risen to over $5 million, this is not a reason to forego estate planning. While your heirs might be nowhere near the threshold for paying estate tax, there are still many important reasons to engage in estate planning, no matter your financial worth.

First, estate planning can prevent surviving family members from fighting, or at least minimize any fighting that occurs. When you make a comprehensive estate plan, you give your family explicit directions about how you want your property distributed. While some family members may not like the choices that you made in executing a will or a trust, it is pretty difficult for them to argue with those choices. As a result, there is at least a decreased chance of family members fighting over what you leave behind when you express your wishes through estate planning.

Next, estate planning avoids probate and saves time and money. If you engage in careful estate planning, then there will be no need for probate. You can arrange that all of your property will pass to whomever you wish to have it following your death without the probate or a court ever intervening. Probate proceedings can be costly and lengthy. If you are able to avoid probate, however, it will be far more beneficial to your surviving family members.

Finally, estate planning can help you even prior to your death. Part of estate planning is typically executing documents such as a power of attorney and a living will. These estate planning documents tell your family how you wish certain situations to be handled prior to your death, such as whom you want to make decisions for you if you are unable to make decisions yourself.

For help devising the estate plan that is best for you and your family, contact a DuPage County estate planning attorney today.