A lot of people think that estate planning is only for those with significant wealth or property. But it’s actually for anybody with any loved ones who might be left behind. If you care about them, if you want to make sure your assets are distributed as you see fit — as expeditiously as possible — an estate plan can bring a lot of peace of mind.
Estate Planning Helps Ensure Your Assets Go Where You Want Them To
If you have a spouse or children, you may think they automatically inherit your wealth. Not so fast. Other relatives or business associates who may come forward and try to claim them. No matter how flimsy the claim, it can tie up the assets in your estate at a time when loved ones need them.
That’s why a will is the foundation of any estate plan. It creates a legal document that specifies exactly how you want assets to be distributed.
A will can also help make sure nontangible assets, like jewelry and art, are divided without hard feelings or animosity. You decide who gets the heirloom bracelet, who gets the earrings... Without a will, these personal items may have to be sold; the money divided.
A Plan Has the Potential to Reduce the Taxes on Your Estate
In 2019, an individual can leave $11.4 million to heirs and pay no federal estate or gift tax; a married couple can leave $22.8 million. Even if you think your estate’s worth less, that doesn’t mean you don’t have to think about taxes. Money from pension plans, IRAs, and other tax-deferred accounts are taxed as income, no matter how small the amount.
With an estate plan, you can account for all your assets before you leave this world, and devise strategies to minimize the tax burden on you heirs.
Estate Plans Help Make Sure Your Family Is Taken Care Of
While life insurance is an important element in your estate plan, it doesn’t automatically solve all of them. Who will take care of your children? How will they be taken care of? Who will manage your assets for them until they come of age?
If you don’t have an estate plan in place, the courts will step in and answer those questions for you. Your children might end up with strangers or in foster care. An estate plan helps ensure that your children will be raised by people you trust. And that your assets will be well taken care of until your children come of age.
An Estate Plan Can Protect You, Too
A smart estate planner will also be sure to protect your interests while you’re alive. This includes determining how much you’ll need for retirement and how much you might need to cover other estate planning costs.
The estate plan can also include the naming of a healthcare proxy or power of attorney; someone to make decisions for you if you are unable to make them on your own. That way your interests and belongings will be protected should you become physically or mentally incapacitated.
When you join the Alliance Value Plan, you get tools and programs to help protect you and your family. Our Legal Club Benefit gives you access to legal care that is free, deeply discounted, or provided at a reduced hourly rate. Members even receive a simple will for free. This is one of the many advantages of Alliance Direct Benefits meant to help people of any age. For more information or to become a member, Join Online Today or call us at 1-800-733-2242 (M-F, 7am - 5:30pm Central Time).