Have you ever thought about what would happen to your estate and financial affairs after you pass away? Well, Estate Planning is arranging the distribution of your estate and financial affairs when you are no longer around. It involves creating a legal document that outlines how your assets will be passed on to beneficiaries and what happens to them if something unexpected occurs.
Estate planning includes more than just deciding who gets what after you die; it also involves making decisions about medical care, retirement accounts, financial accounts, and other important matters while you are still alive. An estate planning attorney can help you create a proper estate plan that considers all these factors.
It might feel scary, but having an estate plan in place can give you and your loved ones peace of mind. This is where Estate Management Counselors LLC comes in. We are financial advisory and estate planning professionals who have been helping families plan for years so their wishes are respected and their financial affairs handled properly.
Let’s discuss what estate planning entails and how Estate Management Counselors LLC is here to help.
What Is Estate Planning?
Do you know what an estate plan is? It is a set of legal documents configuring what will happen to your assets and financial affairs when you pass away. An estate plan includes beneficiary designations, a living will, and other documents that detail how you would like your assets distributed after death.
An estate plan also appoints executors or trustees responsible for your wishes. Some people might think that it’s only for old wealthy people, but not, that’s wrong. Estate planning is for everyone who wants a secure future for their loved ones.
There is no denying that having an estate plan is important. Estate and inheritance taxes can be a major concern for many people, but even if you are not wealthy enough to pay estate taxes, it’s still important to plan. A proper estate plan can help ensure that your savings and other financial accounts are handled according to your wishes.
For those who want to create a valid estate plan or make changes to an existing one, it’s important to consult with a qualified estate planning LLC.
Estate Management Counselors are dedicated to helping clients reach personal and financial objectives with tailored, professional advice based on a complete monetary strategy. Not only do we help you in creating an estate plan that meets your needs and desires, but we also guide the process.
7 Basic Steps To Basic Estate Planning
We all know that no one knows when their time on earth will end, so it’s important to plan for the eventuality of death. If you’re ready to start estate planning, a few steps can help guide your way.
- Inventory Your Stuff
You may think you know what you have, but it’s best to take a detailed inventory of all your assets and financial accounts. This includes capping and savings accounts, stocks and bonds, retirement accounts, insurance policies, real estate, and other items that may be significant to your family after death. The tangible assets are easy to keep track of and include the following:
- Land and home or other real estates.
- Personal property, such as furniture and jewelry.
- Vehicles, including cars and boats.
- Collectables, such as art or antiques.
- Heirlooms and other items that may have sentimental value.
The intangibles are also important, such as:
- Gathering all bank accounts and other financial documents.
- List all digital assets, including online accounts, passwords, and cryptocurrencies.
- Retirement plans like workplace 401(k)s, IRAs, and annuities.
- Life insurance policies and their beneficiaries.
To get a more accurate appraisal of certain items, use outside valuations such as:
- Real estate appraisers for homes, lands, and other properties.
- Antique dealers or art appraisers to value collectables.
- Financial advisors to review investments and accounts.
- Accounts For Your Family Needs
It is obvious that estate planning is not just about you; it also must consider your family’s needs. After you have a comprehensive understanding of the contents of your estate, take steps to ensure that everything is safeguarded, and your family members are taken care of upon your departure:
Ensure You Have Life Insurance That Is Enough
Life insurance provides a financial cushion for your family during your death. It’s important to ensure that your policy covers any outstanding debts and expenses and provides an adequate income for those you leave behind.
It’s essential to speak with an experienced estate planning attorney or possibly a tax advisor to ensure you have enough life insurance to protect your family’s future.
Name A Guardian For Your Kid’s
It’s important to choose someone you trust to act as a guardian for any minor children. This person will be responsible for caring and providing guidance should something happen to you. Consider age, gender, health, proximity, and relationship when choosing a guardian; discussing your wishes with them beforehand is best.
When you write your will, name the guardian you have chosen. Sometimes, it’s necessary to create a trust to provide for your children until they come of age. Estate Management Counselors ensure that your wishes are followed and that your children’s rights and interests are protected.
Document Your End-of-Life Wishes
Creating a living will or advance directive can help ensure that your end-of-life wishes are heard and respected. These documents allow you to state the type of medical care you would like or would not like to receive.
You can also name a person to make health care decisions on your behalf should you become too ill to do so yourself. It’s important to communicate these wishes with your family and friends and ensure they are also clear about them.
These are just a few of the many aspects of estate planning that can be daunting and overwhelming. Estate Management Counselors strive to make the process easier by providing expert advice and services. We will guide you through the complexities of estate planning and ease your burden so you can enjoy peace of mind knowing that your loved ones are taken care of.
Some of the most common estate planning mistakes are failing to update beneficiary designations, not having a living will, or neglecting to create trusts for minor children. However, with us by your side, you can avoid those mistakes. We’ll help you create a plan that ensures your family is taken care of and secure in unforeseen circumstances.
- Establish Your Directives
The directives you set up in your estate plan will determine how your assets are divided and managed after your passing. Establishing a valid estate plan will help the probate court process your financial affairs quickly and more easily. A comprehensive estate plan necessitates necessary legal directives:
A trust would be the best option for your needs. A revocable living trust allows you to allocate portions of your estate as desired while alive. If. If something were to happen that impairs your decision-making ability, a trustee can take over by those instructions.
When you pass away, your trust assets will be transferred to your chosen beneficiaries, bypassing any probate court proceedings. Furthermore, an irrevocable trust can also be set up; this arrangement is non-negotiable and unchangeable by its creator.
Medical Care Directives
Medical care directives, otherwise known as living wills, can provide clarity and peace of mind by outlining your desired medical decisions if you cannot make them yourself.
To guarantee that your healthcare wishes are followed if you can no longer make decisions, consider creating an advance healthcare directive or granting a trusted individual medical power of attorney.
By combining these two forms into one comprehensive document, you can be certain that someone competent and reliable will take charge if necessary.
Financial Power Of Attorney
A financial power of attorney allows you to name a trusted individual to manage your finances and make legal decisions on your behalf should you become unable.
This form is essential for protecting against fraud and undue influence, so choose carefully when appointing someone to act as your agent. The bills and debts you owe will need to be accounted for and managed, so make sure your appointed agent knows exactly what needs to be done.
- Review Your Beneficiaries
Your will and other estate documents may clarify your wishes, but they may not cover every eventuality.
Look After Your Retirements Accounts
Make sure you look after your retirement and insurance accounts. You must regularly check the beneficiaries listed in these plans, as they should be up-to-date. Don’t forget to update them when necessary. Beneficiary designations are legally binding and may override any wishes expressed in a will.
Getting The Right People Involved
When it comes to estate planning, having the right people involved is essential. They may include a lawyer, financial planner, accountant, or other experts who can help you make sound decisions about your estate.
Estate Management Counselors have experienced professionals who have been helping families manage their estates for decades and understand all the complexities associated with estate planning.
Dont Leave Any Section Blank
Don’t leave any section of your estate planning documents blank or incomplete. It is important to fill out every detail and ensure clear and concise language. If you are not comfortable with the legal jargon associated with estate plans, consult with an attorney who can help you understand the terms of your documents.
- Note Estate Tax Laws Of Your State
Estate planning is an excellent way to decrease estate and inheritance taxes, but most people are exempted from paying them. For 2021, the federal government will not impose federal estate tax on any estate up to a maximum of $11.07 million. The exemption limit is even higher in 2022 at $12.06 million.
This incredible tax benefit can help large families preserve their wealth and pursue financial freedom for many generations. If you have a large estate that exceeds the federal tax exemption limits, implementing a Grantor Retained Annuity Trust (GRAT) can be your best option.
GRAT is an irrevocable trust that will help minimize the amount of taxes for your heirs. Before establishing a GRAT, however, be sure to check the estate tax laws of your state.
Some taxes are inheritance and no estate taxes, so you should consider this when planning your estate. Your state may have different inheritance tax laws than the ones in place federally, and some states may even exempt certain assets from taxation.
Understanding your state’s unique estate tax regulations can help you maximize your savings and transfer wealth to future generations.
- Weigh The Value Of Professional Help
Estate planning can be overwhelming, and getting the most out of your estate plan is important. Professional help from a financial planner or lawyer can be invaluable when setting up your plan.
They are experts in estate planning who can help you understand the intricacies of the law and provide guidance on how to structure your assets for the best future. If you have a small estate and simple wishes, an online or packaged will-writing program may be all you need.
These tools typically cover IRS and state regulations so that writing your own will is made even simpler through an interview focused on your life story, finances, and gifts. What’s more, updating this homemade document is possible whenever required.
For more complex estate plans, it’s best to seek professional help. A lawyer can guide you through the process and ensure everything is written properly. Additionally, they can offer advice on how to structure your estate to meet your wishes while achieving tax efficiency.
- Plan To Reassess
As life progresses and evolves, so should your estate plan to match any developments. Are you marrying, having children, buying a business, or moving to another state/country? These life changes require a reassessment of your estate plan and the associated documentation.
Commit to setting aside time each year to review your documents for accuracy and up-to-date details. Doing this regularly will help ensure that all your affairs are in order and your possessions will go to the right people when the time comes.
Estate Management Counselors is a legal advisory firm that procures an array of estate planning services to help you craft the perfect plan. We are a mid-sized firm with the experience and know-how to create a document that is both legally sound and tax-efficient.
Regardless of your route, don’t forget that estate planning is essential to respect your wishes after you’re gone. Our legal team stands ready and willing to help guide the process along.
How Much Does Estate Planning Cost?
The estate planning costs vary based on the complexity of your particular situation and the type of document you need. Simple wills can be as low as a few hundred dollars, while more complex documents, such as trusts, may cost several thousand.
The good news is that most financial planners offer free consultations so that you can discuss the specific details of your plan and get a better idea of what it will cost.
It’s important to remember that estate planning isn’t only about money. It is also an opportunity to pass along your values, wishes, and life lessons. Taking the time to consider how you want your legacy to be remembered can make all the difference in leaving behind a lasting impact.
By researching estate planning options, seeking professional help when needed, and regularly updating your plan, you can ensure that your estate is managed according to your wishes.
EMC is all that you need. We are located in Atlanta, GA, and can provide you with the best legal advice. Our team of professionals specializes in estate planning and has years of experience helping clients craft legally sound and tax-efficient plans.
We have served over 900 clients, and our services are affordable and reliable. EMC is not compensated on a commission basis, so you can rest assured that our advice is unbiased and personal.
Estate planning is essential for anyone who wants to protect their assets, have control over their financial affairs, and ensure that their loved ones are taken care of in the event of death or disability.
It can be a complex process, so getting assistance from an estate planning attorney and possibly a tax advisor who can help you avoid common mistakes is important. Estate planning can cost significantly in both time and money.
At EMC, we understand that estate planning can feel daunting and difficult. Our process starts with getting to know you and your situation together. We create a plan tailored to meet your immediate needs and future goals. We ensure every detail is considered for our clients to have the most comprehensive plan possible.
We take the guesswork out of estate planning by providing comprehensive counsel and guidance for our clients, from will writing to managing trust accounts. So, if you’re ready to take the first step in creating a valid estate plan, contact us today for a consultation. We look forward to helping you protect your legacy for years to come.
What is the meaning of estate planning?
Estate planning is preparing for the orderly and efficient transfer of your wealth to your loved ones or other beneficiaries. It involves various tax, legal, and financial considerations throughout a person’s lifetime. Estate planning can also preserve assets from creditors and long-term care expenses.
What is estate planning, and why is it important?
Estate planning is important because it ensures that your wishes distribute your assets and belongings after you die. Without an estate plan, you leave the fate of your assets in limbo, your family may end up fighting over them, or they may be subject to costly probate fees and taxation. Additionally, estate planning can help reduce the financial burden on your family in the event of an unexpected illness or disability.