Estate planning is a topic that touches everyone’s life, yet many people are reluctant to create an estate plan. Learn why it’s critical to create an estate plan if you have a family and what the components of an estate plan are.
What is Estate Planning?
Estate planning is a process that ensures your possessions will be distributed after your death in a manner of your choosing. Estate planning also encompasses medical directives and plans for your care in the event of disability. You might think, “I’m not rich” or “I rent my house, so why should I estate plan?” What you may not realize is that everything you own constitutes an estate: Your car, your home, your bank accounts, your furniture, your artwork, your pets, and more.
Your loved ones will be distraught if you become disabled or pass on in a sudden accident. If you haven’t made a plan, a court-appointed guardian will be in charge of your care. Wouldn’t you rather your spouse, child, or sibling oversee your medical care during disability? Then you must create an estate plan.
What is Included in an Estate Plan
While every plan should be tailored to your specific needs, estate planning could include the use of the following:
- Will – Your will lays out your asset distribution and specific plans for burial and funeral.
- Living will or advanced medical directive – This allows you to set your preferences for end-of-life and critical medical care.
- Power of attorney – This allows an individual you choose to act as your guardian if you become incapacitated.
- Guardianship of minors – This names a guardian in case you and your spouse pass away while children are minors.
- Insurance and investment planning – These policies protect your loved ones in the event of your death.
- Trusts – If you wish to reduce tax liability or give money to charity, you may need a trust.
If you die without a will, the Kentucky courts will appoint an individual to pay off your debts, distribute your assets, and dispose of your estate. If you always assumed your children will inherit your house, or your sports memorabilia collection will go to your favorite cousin, think again. Unless you leave explicit instructions in a will, your wishes will not be respected and your loved ones will not be protected.
At Gibson Law Offices, we offer comprehensive estate planning services. To plan for your family’s future and safeguard the legacy you’ve worked so hard to create, call us.