Want your legacy to last? An Estate Plan will make it happen
Two things in life are certain: Death and Taxes. But there's good news! Add an Estate Plan to this short list and you'll be certain your wishes are met exactly as you want.
If you're not familiar with Estate Planning, it involves planning to disperse your assets, such as your car, your home, vacation home, rental properties, stocks, retirement accounts and more. Given the chance to run through a simple plan, many people are relieved at the ease of making decisions for how they want their legacy handled.
It takes less time than you think, to plan out your wishes and pro-actively eliminate a hassle for your family or friends. No one wants to bicker over your estate and all it encompasses. Your second cousin Susie is your favorite, but is she getting all your assets over your favorite grandchild? Having your estate plan managed ahead of time, before a prolonged illness or an unexpected death, settles all the questions on who gets what, how, and when.
Start with the end in mind when it comes to the decisions of your estate. By deciding early how things should proceed, you'll be able to remove painful decisions from your family members, for example, if your health suddenly deteriorates. An accident, disability, or sudden death is not something we are ever properly prepared to handle. Your spouse, family and friends may be unable to put grief aside to make important decisions regarding your health care.
Having a written directive with a Power of Attorney (POA) in a Living Will assigned before anything happens, will relieve this burden. You can use an Estate plan to establish a basic outline of your current needs and update it later, as needed.
Peace of mind
Fail to plan and the plan will fail. No one wants to think of life going on without them. Like politics, talking about one's death makes a depressing dinner table discussion, so there is just no perfect time to talk about an Estate Plan. However, just 5 minutes of an uncomfortable discussion can offer years of peace of mind when your wishes are clearly outlined in writing, to avoid disputes, disappointment, or probate court.
For example, a home that is in a former spouses' name who is either deceased or divorced, may have a claim on the property that no one wishes to pursue without a big legal entanglement via probate. Clearing a title or deed as part of the estate planning process, as part of the outline of your wishes, offers long term reassurance.
Protect your assets
If you've worked hard to build a nest egg, or inherited a portfolio of monetary funds, stocks or properties, you should ensure your legacy is protected by making your assets work for you even after your death. By placing your estate inside the legal protection of a estate plan, or using a Trust, your legacy will be well guarded against probate or state inheritance laws.
A small estate plan covers the essentials:
Last Will and Testament
Power of Attorney for Healthcare
Power of Attorney for bank accounts and/or property
Living Will or DNR-Do Not Resuscitate for your healthcare directive or proxy
HIPAA directives for privacy on who is allowed to speak to your doctors about your care.
This starter plan is ideal for those who may be single, in good health, who do not own a lot of assets, or who are under 45 years of age with no dependents.
A medium estate plan covers all of the above plus:
Trusts for married couples or for single person, including real estate property and monetary funds
This is a plan for those with young children, dependents, spouses and families to ensure proper dispensation of property and monetary funds for surviving members. Consider expanding it as needed for new assets, grandchildren, or family businesses and charitable donations (see below).
A super-sized estate plan: includes the above and offers a plan for the next generation:
This comprehensive Estate Plan includes yourself, a spouse, children, extended family members, and multiple levels of designated trusts to include monetary funds, retirement funds, stocks, multiple real estate properties, additional assets, life insurance policies, and more. Customized plans may also contain directives on businesses, company assets and distribution, including leadership succession line or director roles.
Giving your family a gift of your completed Estate Plan is a sanity saver during a difficult time filled with anxiety and grief. Transitioning to a new life without you is difficult for spouses, grand children, and even adult children. By creating a plan now, you can remove a heavy burden from family and friends, easing the transition while entrusting your estate to a customized plan, and ensure your needs are met exactly how you want them.
Get the details
Not sure where to start on your Estate plan? It's easy and we can help right here in Chicago.
Contact: Juli Jackson, Attorney
Jackson Abdalla Law Group or call (773) 550-3853.
Comment below and tell me about your ideal Estate Plan.
Jennifer Kinzle, Premier Agent
Charles Rutenberg Realty of Naperville, IL
Fox Valley Homes Specialist, 630-854-4360
Find your new home here: Fox Valley Home Sellers
About me: I take a deep dive into coffee, chocolate, and real estate in the St Charles and Fox Valley area. I enjoy blogging, selling homes, finding great investments, and helping buyers and sellers with all their questions.
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