We always advise our clients to view estate planning as an exercise in planning for life — not death. Many people focus on the dying part first, which, on the one hand, is entirely understandable. You want to have a plan in place to protect everyone you love and everything you own before you are gone.
But while you are still here, who wouldn’t sleep better at night knowing they have a lifetime of guidance and protection?
What is estate planning?
In our world, “estate” refers to everything you own – home, cars, boats, furniture, bank accounts, jewelry, life insurance, etc. True estate planning goes beyond possessions and assets, though, and plans for a variety of important factors that right now may seem like they are too far in the future. This includes:
Determining which loved ones are good at handling money and other responsibilities
Detailed instructions for your care should you become disabled before you die
Choosing appropriate guardians or additional care for minors and loved ones with special needs
How companies you own will be sold or transferred and proceeds dispersed
How to minimize taxes and unnecessary fees
Contingency plans for planned changes as well as unexpected changes
Having total control over how that process plays out is invaluable. Estate planning puts your affairs in order, so you have peace of mind knowing your loved ones can carry out your wishes once you are gone.
Based on the above information, here are a few practical moves to make right now to protect and provide for your family:
Create a trust — A trust allows you to protect assets for your child by creating a distribution option for when they reach adulthood. It also protects adult children from creditors, predators, and unnecessary taxes.
Gifts — There are tax advantages to gifting portions of your estate to your children while you are still alive. This can help reduce estate taxes.
Guardian — One of the most important reasons parents of children under 18 have an estate plan is to legally name a guardian for their children. You can always change your choice, but the state will do it for you if you do not make at least one choice. And no one wants that.
Life insurance — You should consider buying a life insurance policy to provide support for a surviving spouse or child if you die unexpectedly.
Updates — As we have written about many times before, be sure to either create a new plan or update your existing plan to address changes in family circumstances (births, deaths, or divorces), laws, or assets.
Call Leigh Hilton PLLC today!!
Are you afraid that the plan you have in place is outdated or is not as comprehensive as it should be? At Leigh Hilton PLLC in Denton, TX, we help individuals and families understand the importance of estate planning and create a unique plan to pass their wealth, wisdom, and values to loved ones in the most efficient way possible. By working with us, you can be confident that your estate plan will be current, take advantage of the latest planning opportunities, and address your goals using an approach that makes sense to you and a strategy that you can be confident in.
Leigh Hilton PLLC wants to be your first call every time for any estate planning need. We look forward to serving you.