Control Your Legacy. Have Greater Peace of Mind. Let Our Estate Attorneys Help You Create the Perfect Estate Plan.
What is an estate plan? Your estate is the sum total of everything you own, including cars, real estate, accounts, life insurance, retirement funds, investments, artwork, and other personal belongings.
An estate plan is a list of detailed instructions that spells out the who, when, and how of distributing your assets. These documents can also specify burial instructions, describe what you want done should you become disabled or incapacitated, and specify preferences for medical treatment.
Here are some excellent reasons why you should have an estate plan:
Protect Your Family
This is often the number one reason to have an estate plan. Naming a guardian in your will ensures your children are cared for by someone you choose, not the courts. Putting a clear plan in place will provide guidance to loved ones and give your family some peace of mind.
Protect Your Assets
You worked hard to get where you are and earn what you have. Create a plan to make sure those assets are available to protect and provide for the ones you love.
For most people, avoiding probate is a particularly good reason for creating an estate plan. Probate is the process of validating a decedent’s will, qualifying an executor, determining the value of their assets, paying final bills and taxes, and distributing the rest to beneficiaries. Even if you’ve never had to deal with probate, you may have heard frightening stories in the media or tales recounted by neighbors, friends, or colleagues and know it’s a situation to be avoided. However if you are simply at the point where you can’t avoid probate, Asurest offers probate services that will help you smooth out this process.
Reduce Estate Taxes
If you die without an estate plan, this can result in a significant loss of one’s estate to state, federal, and state inheritance taxes. We can help. Even the most basic planning can help reduce or even potentially eliminate estate taxes altogether.
Protect Your Beneficiaries
An estate plan can protect both beneficiaries who are minors as well as adults who might fall victim to bad decisions, outside influences, creditor problems, and divorcing spouses. Prevent family fighting and costly legal expenses by taking the time to designate a guardian and trustee for your minor beneficiaries.
Here are some key components of a well-rounded estate plan:
1. Your Will. It’s best to draw up your will whenever you’re going through a significant life change, such as a marriage, divorce, or new baby. A will outlines how your assets will be distributed, who will serve as the executor of your estate, who will serve as your children’s guardian, and who will take care of any pets. Without a will, the government will make these decisions.
2. Beneficiaries. Designate who you would like to receive which assets, at which time and for how long.
3. A Living Will. A living will, also known as an advanced medical directive, is a document outlining your wishes regarding medical care if you are incapacitated, terminally ill, or unable to communicate. It contains, in detail, decisions about life support and any kind of life-sustaining medical intervention that you do or don’t want, as well as who has the right to make those medical decisions for you should you no longer be able to make them yourself.
4. Financial Power of Attorney. Like the healthcare power of attorney, a financial power of attorney outlines who you want to make your financial decisions on your behalf should you become incapacitated. Without this document, no one will have the authority to handle bill-paying, investment decisions, or other financial matters.
5. Life insurance. If family members depend on your paycheck, consider including life insurance in your estate plan. Life insurance can help take care of your family and loved ones financially after you die.
6. Trusts. A trust is a legal entity that can own your assets (both while living or after death). It’s controlled based on the wishes you outlined in the legal document that created the entity. Different types of trusts can help your family avoid processes like probate or estate taxes, so do your research as to which type will work best for you.
Death is a subject most people would rather not think about it. But while you don’t know when and how you may die, you do have complete control over what happens to your estate after you’re gone. Don’t leave these decisions in the hands of your local courts. Spell out your wishes in a legal document so that what you have ends up with the people and organizations that matter most to you.
That’s where Asurest can help. Estate planning is our specialty. Whether you need a will, a trust, assistance with probate, or a comprehensive plan to cover every issue, our team of legal experts at Asurest can design the best estate plan for you and your family. Our estate attorneys have been serving Richmond, Charlottesville, and communities across Central Virginia for many years. You can trust us to treat you with respect and compassion.
Call us today to set up an appointment – we’re happy to come to you or chat on the phone.
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