Estate Planning Basics and The Law

Eric Gehler
September 25, 2008 — 1,465 views  
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Having a plan that determines how your assets are used during your life and after your death is a critical process that requires expert legal advice. Estate planning can help you decide how your assets are distributed. You may need to set aside resources for your long-term care. Plus, you might need to appoint someone to manage your estate in the event that you lose your own ability to do so. You may decide that a portion of your estate should be given to certain charitable organizations. Each of these circumstances can be included in an estate plan with the help of a lawyer.

Benefits Of Planning Your Estate

Without an estate plan, your assets can be distributed in a way that's contrary to your wishes. When you die, a number of important legal issues regarding your assets emerge. The manner in which your estate is divided amongst your heirs, how taxes are handled, donations to charities and transfers of property are only a few of the many concerns an estate plan can address.

With the help of an experienced estate planning lawyer, you can ensure that your assets will be used according to your wishes. Your plan can distribute assets from your estate to your beneficiaries quickly and seamlessly. Your lawyer can help you determine an executor of your estate in the event of your death. An estate plan can minimize the taxes owed by your estate by giving the allowable maximum to various beneficiaries. If you're a business owner, you can make sure your business operates uninterrupted by detailing plans of succession and distribution of income.

Potential Pitfalls Of Poor Planning

Millions of people fail to plan how their assets are divided when they die. As a result, their estate often ends up in probate. This is a process that's best avoided whenever possible. In probate, a court examines a will (if one exists) and divides a person's assets accordingly. When a will doesn't exist, the court decides how best to allocate the assets from an estate. The entire process is time-intensive and expensive. You can avoid having your assets end up in probate by hiring an estate planning lawyer to set up trusts and other arrangements.

Using The Law To Protect Your Assets

The law stipulates how your assets can be divided after you die. With the help of an experienced attorney, you can leverage the law to protect your assets. A lawyer can help you ensure your estate isn't vulnerable to a long and costly probate process. He can help you minimize the tax liability your estate will suffer upon your death. The sale and distribution of tangible assets can be detailed according to your preferences. By planning your estate with the advice of a qualified attorney, you can be confident that your affairs will be in order when you die. Not planning your estate well in advance can lead to an excessive and time costing adventure for your loved ones.

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Eric Gehler