Carol George's Blog
Estate planning is as important as having a solid life insurance policy, the type of life insurance policy that will remain effective until or after your passing. Universal and whole life insurance policies are types of insurance policies that remain effective to and after the point of death. But, life insurance only offers certain types of protection for your children and any other beneficiaries that you list on your policy. Broader protections come through estate planning.
Estate planning basics
At its basic level, estate planning is the process of setting up who will manage your property after you are gone. How your property will be disposed of is also a part of estate planning. A will is a key instrument used with estate planning.
Items included in the estate planning process are:
- Your house or houses
- Land that you own
- Businesses that you own
- Patented products or services that you developed
- Your retirement accounts
- Life insurance policies
- Bank accounts
- A will
- Personal foundations
- Burial plans
Even if you own a business that generates less than one million dollars a year, it’s a good idea to create a plan for your estate. When creating your will as part of your estate planning, it may be a good idea to have a living will. It is in a living will that you state whether you want to be cremated or buried. You can also layout these details in a burial plan.
Probate is another major component of the estate planning process. Generally, with probate a public announcement is made after your passing. These announcements are often published in newspapers. It’s through the announcement that your living relatives can become aware of your passing and begin to become aware of and participate in the estate planning guidelines that you established. A court appointed representative will oversee the probate process.
Benefits of estate planning
As you start the estate planning process, it may become increasingly clear to you how important it is to make decisions that set your children and extended family up for success. For example, you may see benefits associated with owning a home,land and business properties.
You may also see why it’s important to own property that continues to grow equity. Features to look for in a house that you plan to will to your children are the area where the house is located and the history of the area. The size and type of house that you buy is also important.
If you buy a house that sits on several acres of land, your purchase could benefit your family for generations. Your adult children may not have to pay for a house due to the fact that you will them yours. Money that they save could be put toward a better post-secondary education.
Work with an experienced estate planning attorney. A good attorney partnership could help you and your children to avoid paying unnecessary taxes. Estate planning may also reduce conflict that your children and extended family members might experience. For example, good estate planning could keep family members from fighting over your property. Also, remember that you do no need to be wealthy to conduct estate planning.