Starting the estate planning process can be daunting, especially if you’ve never had to talk to a lawyer before. For people unfamiliar with the subject matter, talking about, or even thinking about, the difficult questions that often accompany estate planning is not something they look forward to doing.
But if you take the time to educate yourself about some common estate planning questions and how these issues affect you, you can get a much better idea of why starting your own plan as soon as possible is in your best interest, as well as the interests of your family.
So, let’s take a look at some common state planning questions and their answers.
What is estate planning?
All of the property and interests you leave behind after you die is collectively known as your estate. Estate planning, therefore, is taking the time to plan ahead for what will happen to your interests after you are gone.
Is estate planning only for old people?
Absolutely not. Every competent adult should have an estate plan in place as soon as they turn 18 years old. Only by creating an estate plan can you make certain types of choices. If you don’t make a plan, you leave it up to your family or a court to make these important decisions on your behalf.
Can’t I simply make a last will and testament?
Even though a will can be a helpful estate planning tool, it isn’t the only piece you have to create. A comprehensive estate plan covers not only what happens to you after you die, but also what happens to you should you lose your ability to make choices. If you become incapacitated, a will cannot help you.
What’s all this I hear about trusts?
A trust is essentially a legal entity you create to which you can transfer some of your property. Trusts are a commonly used estate planning tool suitable for multiple purposes. There are numerous types of trusts available to anyone beginning the estate planning process, each of which provides significant benefits depending on the type you choose to create. Almost every estate plan can benefit by creating one or more types of trusts.
If I’m a veteran, are there special estate planning issues I need to think about?
Absolutely. Veterans have access to several important estate planning tools that other people don’t. In addition to veteran pensions, VA healthcare, and funeral benefits, veterans might be able to qualify for theVA’s Aid and Attendance program if they need help as they get older.
When should I start estate planning?
As soon as possible. Scheduling an appointment with an experienced and qualified estate planning attorney is one of the best things you can do to be prepared for your future.