Estate planning is the process of preparing for the future disposal and distribution of an estate in a way that will achieve the goals of the estate owner and provide for those they care for. Other objectives may include minimizing probate court involvement, providing financial support and designating guardians for minor children, planning for medical incapacity and setting up trusts.
Individuals put off estate planning because they think they don’t own enough, they’re not old enough, they’re busy, think they have plenty of time, they’re confused and don’t know who can help them, or they just don’t want to think about it. Then, when something happens to them, their families have to pick up the pieces.
If your name is on the title of your assets and you can not conduct business due to mental or physical incapacity, only a court appointee can sign for you. The court, not your family, will control how your assets are used to care for you through a conservatorship or guardianship (depending on the term used in your state). It can become expensive and time consuming, it is open to the public, and it can be difficult to end even if you recover.
If you should die without an intentional estate plan, your assets will be distributed according to the probate laws in your state. In many states, if you are married and have children, your spouse and children will each receive a share. That means your spouse could receive only a fraction of your estate, which may not be enough to live on. If you have minor children, the court will control their inheritance. If both parents die (i.e., in a car accident), the court will appoint a guardian without knowing whom you would have chosen. These are “must have documents”!
When that happens— and it is a “when” and not an “if” —you probably want to control how those things are given to the people or organizations you care most about. To ensure your wishes are carried out, you need to provide instructions stating who you want to receive something of yours, you want them to receive, and when they are to receive it. You will, of course, want this to happen with the least amount paid in taxes, legal fees, and court costs making a plan in advance and naming whom you want to receive the things you own after you die. However, good estate planning is much more than that. It should also:
— Include instructions for your care if you become disabled before you die.
— Name a guardian and an inheritance manager for minor children.
— Provide for family members with special needs without disrupting government benefits.
— Provide for loved ones who might be irresponsible with money or who may need future protection from creditors or divorce.
— Include life insurance to provide for your family at your death ,disability insurance income to replace your income if you can not work due to illness or injury, and long-term care insurance to help pay for your care in case of an extended illness or injury.
— Provide for the transfer of your business at your retirement, disability, or death.
— Minimize taxes, court costs, and unnecessary legal fees.
— Be an ongoing process, not a one-time event. Your plan should be reviewed and updated as your family, physical and financial situations change over your lifetime.
Estate planning is not just for “retired” people, although people do tend to think about it more as they get older. Unfortunately, we can’t successfully predict how long we will live, and illness and accidents happen to people of all ages.
Estate Planning is the systematic approach to organizing your personal and financial affairs in order to deal with the possibility of mental or physical incapacity and certain death. Depending on your current family and financial situations, your foundational estate plan will include four or five essential legal estate planning documents. Aside from these essential documents, the laws of your state may dictate the creation of other estate planning documents. As a responsible adult, you need to have these documents in place now. Additionally, you should also have health care coverage and a life insurance policy.
Foster Law Form specializes in "pro se law" — often called self-help law or do-it-yourself law. We provide the necessary documents, information and assistance to help you create the legal documents you need to take on these common family law related issues. Topics of: Last Will and Testament, Power of Attorney, Advance Health Care Directive, Living Trust (and if necessary) 2015 Bankruptcy Forms. Our Form packages address requirements for all typical individual circumstances. With Foster Law Form, anyone who can read straight-forward directions and answer highly-specific questions about their personal situation can manage these common legal issues without hiring an attorney. That can be a savings of thousands of dollars! Inheritance can be a loaded issue. By being clear about your intentions, you help dispel potential conflicts after you're gone.
Our “smart form” technology makes the document preparation easy. You start by answering some basic questions. The software begins to build your document for you, for each page required. All forms packages include the purpose and instructions for you to complete your desires or required filling. Where helpful, the form re-enters the basic information, and does the math for you. You do not need to be an attorney to prepare your documents. Most documents require more than just one page. Your particular filling may contain between 3-10 pages (including instructions). Our forms packages include all of the forms and instructions you will need for your particular document.
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