Do you have a plan for your loved ones after you pass away? We know it’s sad to think about, but an Estate Plan is really something everyone, regardless of income, assets or savings should have. Why you ask? We sat down with our friends at The Murray Firm to understand why it’s important to have an Estate Plan, and what their firm does to help guide you through these, sometimes difficult, conversations.
What happens in an estate planning session?
We prepare estate plans for individuals and couples that are specifically tailored for their financial and familial circumstances. We believe that every adult, regardless of age and finances, should protect themselves by having a full estate plan that includes a will, power of attorney, health care directive and living will. If needed, we also specialize in preparing the appropriate trusts based on the needs and intentions of the individual or family.
Who is estate planning for?
An estate plan is important for a wide range of individuals, regardless of their financial status or age. Here are some categories of people who should consider having an estate plan:
- Parents with Minor Children: If you have children who are minors, an estate plan is crucial to designate guardianship and provide for their care in the event of your passing.
- High-Net-Worth Individuals: Those with significant assets should have an estate plan to manage and distribute their wealth according to their wishes, while also minimizing estate taxes and ensuring a smooth transfer of assets to beneficiaries.
- Homeowners: If you own real estate or property, an estate plan can help clarify how these assets will be distributed and managed after your death.
- Business Owners: If you own a business, an estate plan can address succession planning to ensure a smooth transition of ownership and management in case of your passing.
- Blended Families: Individuals in blended families may want to create an estate plan to ensure that their assets are distributed fairly among children from different relationships.
- Individuals with Special Needs Dependents: If you have a dependent with special needs, an estate plan can help ensure that they are provided for financially and receive proper care after your passing.
- Single Individuals: Even if you are single, an estate plan can help ensure your assets are distributed according to your wishes, rather than being determined by the state’s laws.
- Retirees: Retirees often have various financial accounts, pensions, and healthcare preferences that need to be clearly outlined in an estate plan.
- Charitable Individuals: If you’re passionate about supporting charitable causes, an estate plan can help establish charitable trusts or foundations to continue your philanthropic efforts after your passing.
- Individuals with Specific Wishes: If you have specific wishes regarding your medical treatment, end-of-life care, or funeral arrangements, these can be documented in your estate plan.
- People with Significant Debts: An estate plan can help manage the distribution of assets in a way that addresses outstanding debts and liabilities.
- Individuals Concerned About Privacy: Without an estate plan, the distribution of your assets may become a public matter. An estate plan can help keep these matters private.
- International Assets: If you have assets or properties in different countries, an estate plan can help navigate the complexities of cross-border inheritance laws.
Why it’s important to have an estate plan?
In general, an estate plan helps ensure that your wishes are carried out, reduces the burden on your loved ones during a difficult time, and can provide significant financial benefits. Consulting with legal and financial professionals is recommended to create a comprehensive estate plan that aligns with your specific circumstances and goals.
This article was done in partnership with The Murray Firm. It is important that you seek out the right legal professional if you are faced with a legal issue in one of the following areas: financial long term care planning, age discrimination in employment, guardianships, veterans benefit planning, Medicaid planning and applications, special needs planning, and estate planning. Don’t try to navigate this maze alone. Seek the professional advice you deserve. Please call The Murray Firm, LLC at (908) 204-3477 to schedule a free consultation to discuss your personal situation.