Welcome to National Estate Planning Awareness Week! It arrives when studies show that nearly 67% of adults lack an up-to-date estate plan. At SFBBG, we are committed to addressing this dire situation. For those who fear they can’t afford to put together an estate plan in 2022 that incorporates the latest tax benefits, consider how it could prove much more expensive not to have an up-to-date plan.
What is Estate Planning?
Basic estate planning involves giving your assets at death to the people you want to give them to. But estate planning can involve many other actions. For example, you can give directions on what to do if you are alive but unable to act for yourself, name one or more guardians for your minor children and seek to minimize taxes and court costs that will deplete your assets. You can also do much more!
Who Should Have an Estate Plan?
Anyone who has children, loved ones, cherished charities or owns anything of value should have an estate plan. If you don’t have an estate plan, the state controls who gets what when you pass away. The courts will direct how your assets pass and this can result in additional professional and other fees.
What Are the Basic Tools Used in Estate Planning?
An estate plan can provide directions on what to do when you are alive but can’t act for yourself and what to do with your assets when you pass away. A will dictates how your assets pass upon your death. A trust is a more advanced estate planning tool and permits your assets to pass without going through (costly) probate proceedings as well as providing other benefits. A medical or property power of attorney lets you select someone to make medical and financial decisions for you if you are unable to make decisions for yourself.
What’s Right for Me?
Estate planning can provide many financial and legal advantages and should be tailored to align with your individual interests. If any part of the above discussion catches your interest or applies to you, then you may wish to reach out to Bruce Bell or Steve Shaw at SFBBG.