Estate Planning Essentials: What is Estate Planning?
Have you ever wondered what "estate planning" actually means? In this introductory video, attorney Nicolas Grimwood provides a brief overview of the key aspects of what estate planning is all about.
What is estate planning? Estate planning is a means by which you can specifically state your wishes about who takes care of you in the event you can't take care of yourself, who takes care of your children if you can't take care of them and what happens to your belongings if you were to pass away.
There are two different scenarios estate planning is intended to address: (1) if you become incapacitated (such as being in a coma or developing Alzheimer's or dementia); and (2) if you become deceased.
Planning for incapacity is arguably one of the most important things you can do. It applies to everyone, whether you have a lot or a little and whether you have a complicated or simple family dynamic. Also, it also directly benefits you (unlike planning for when you pass away, since that primarily benefits your loved ones).
Planning for if you become deceased is also critical. First, it can address the care and guardianship of children. Second, if appropriate, it can help your estate avoid the probate process.
Probate is a complicated court proceeding in which your property is transferred from your name to your legal heirs. Probate can be expensive and it's generally very time consuming. In most cases, it's best to try to avoid probate if at all possible.
The benefits of estate planning are numerous, including avoiding uncertainty (for both you and your loved ones), saving a lot time and avoiding a lot of expenses. Most people don't realize that failing to plan is often far more expensive than planning ahead now.
One word about online legal service providers. These providers often a myriad of options that are very quick and very cheap. In some cases, this may not be a bad option. However, in many cases, the documents that these online providers offer are simply generic forms that aren't tailored to your specific needs. Unfortunately, many times those generic forms can create more problems on the back end than they solve. For that reason, we recommend that you take the time now to make a plan that fits your needs and situation. You only get one shot to do it right so it's worth doing it well the first time.
If you have any questions about estate planning, we encourage you to reach out to our office to speak with one of our attorneys. We'd love to come alongside you and help you build the plan you and your loved ones deserve.
Disclaimer: This article is intended for informational purposes only and is not intended to be construed as legal advice. The choice of a lawyer is an important decision and should not be based solely upon advertisements..