What is Estate Planning and Why is it Important?
The term “estate planning” covers a lot more than most people think. An estate plan can establish protective options for your property during your lifetime, help ensure debts are covered, and enable your loved ones to have the resources they need after you pass away. If you are in an accident or suffer an illness that puts you in a coma, your plan can ensure that your preferences for medical treatment are followed and that someone you trust can step in to manage your finances while you are incapacitated. Your plan can reduce tax liability or help preserve eligibility to receive certain government benefits by your beneficiaries.
There are a lot of possibilities when you plan ahead. When you don't, your loved ones could be powerless to help in an emergency, and your property will be handled according to government rules rather than your own wishes. The government will also decide what happens to your minor children. Creating an estate plan puts you in charge and in control of your future and allows you to protect and ease the burden for your loved ones.
Your Goals Provide the Guidelines
The process of preparing a comprehensive estate plan starts with a thorough analysis of your situation and your goals and concerns for the future. For instance, if you have minor children or provide care for a family member with special needs, setting up a plan for their welfare could be the top priority. If you don't have any dependents and you are nearing retirement, on the other hand, your biggest concern may be planning for the possibility of long-term care. Or you might want to ensure that you don't leave debts and complicated legal requirements for your family.
Your plan starts with your priorities. However, your priorities will change over time, and that means your plan will need to be adjusted periodically to match your objectives.
Estate Planning Tools
Estate planning attorneys use a variety of instruments to accomplish different goals for clients. Building the plan starts with the assessment of position and goals, and then an analysis of the different ways to reach those goals. Your estate planning attorney might suggest using tools such as:
- Life insurance or long-term care insurance
- A simple or complex will
- Georgia Advance Directive for Healthcare
- Revocable living trust to avoid probate
- Beneficiary designations on financial accounts and life insurance
- Financial durable power of attorney
- HIPAA or other medical authorization forms
Your attorney can explain how these tools work. Some tools require ongoing maintenance while others only need to be reviewed periodically to ensure that they still match your goals. If you already have some tools prepared, your plan can be built around those.
Talk to Peach State Wills & Trusts to See What an Estate Plan Can Do for You
Knowing that you have plans in place to cover both emergencies and eventualities gives you peace of mind that is hard to match. At Peach State Wills & Trusts, we take the time to get to know you and understand all the factors that affect your needs and goals for the future. That enables us to build a plan that provides protection without unnecessary complexity and maintenance requirements.
Contact us today at 678-344-5342 to learn about how we can protect you and your family with the right plan. Or, for more information, request our free guide to estate planning in Georgia here.