Estate planning refers to the act of making a plan to determine who receives your property and belongings after you die. Good estate planning, however, also includes instructions for your care if you become disabled before you die, provides safeguards for loved ones who are not financially responsible, and minimizes taxes, court costs, and unnecessary legal fees.
Unfortunately, estate planning is one of those things that few people think about until late in life. However, the sooner you create an estate plan, the better. After all, no one knows how much time we have.
What’s the Difference Between Estate Planning and a Will?
Many people think if they have a will, they have an estate plan. However, a will is just one component of a good estate plan. It can be an important component, as it directs your belongings and assets to the people you choose after your death. If you have minor children, your will should designate who will care for your children in the event of your untimely passing. But as we said, wills are just one part of estate planning. Other components include the following:
- Living Trusts
- Powers of Attorney
- Advanced Directives
With so many components and so much at stake if you don’t have a plan in place before your passing, it’s important to seek out a lawyer who specializes in estate planning. Having a legally binding, well-thought-out estate plan in place will ensure your wishes will be followed and that you and your loved ones won’t be taken advantage of.
Estate Planning Protects Your Funds and Saves Time in Court
Few people enjoy thinking of their own death and what will happen to their loved ones and belongings when they are gone. Without a comprehensive estate plan in place, your belongings and assets may be seized by others unrelated to you. If you have a good estate plan, the process of distributing your belongings and assets will be simple and straightforward. If you only have a will in place and not a full estate plan, the process of distributing your assets will be messier, time-consuming, and expensive. Additionally, probate will become part of the process.
For those who don’t know, probate refers to the judicial process during which a will is determined to be legal and enforceable. Oftentimes, the probate process is costly and lengthy, especially if the will is contested at any point during the process. Additionally, every step of the probate process is public record, meaning your family will not have much privacy.
Thorough estate planning can avoid probate altogether. Fortunately, the skilled team at Morgan Law Center can help. Not only can our team help you create a plan to ensure that your wishes are honored, both in life and in death, but we can help craft any documents you may need to ensure your medical care is handled how you wish in the event that you are incapable of making decisions for yourself. In the event of your passing, our team will be by your family’s side to make sure your wishes are carried out.
The team at Morgan Law Center in Lake City, Florida understands that estate planning is a sensitive topic for many people, and we’re here to help you in any way possible. Give our office a call today to schedule a consultation. Contact us at (386) 755-1977.