Estate planning is an essential part of your financial life as you age. But what does an estate planner really help you with in regards to your end of life planning? Let’s take a look at what an estate planner really does and how their services can benefit you.
What is an “Estate”?
Your estate is comprised of all of your assets (whether real property or personal property) and liabilities. This can include real estate, stock and securities, life insurance policies, bank accounts, and personal items like vehicles and jewelry.
Benefits of Estate Planning
- Gives you peace of mind that your family will be provided for after your death.
- Allows you to identify the specific family members that you wish to receive your assets.
- Ensures that your wishes are carried out with as few legal issues or hurdles as possible.
- Lessens the amount of taxes to be paid on the transfer of assets.
- Helps your family avoid spending extra time and money on the probate of your estate.
- Avoids possible custody issues for minor children, which can keep your children out of protective services.
- Saves your family from having to make difficult decisions regarding your estate when you pass away.
Benefits of Hiring an Estate Planner
Estate planning allows you to decide the way in which your assets are distributed once you have passed away. Hiring an estate lawyer to help with this process ensures that your wishes will be carried out in accordance with state and local laws, and can avoid problems with probate and Will contests later on.
Experienced estate planners are educated in the best ways to reduce and even avoid estate taxes. They can assist you in creating your will and setting up trusts and other methods to best protect your assets. They’re also professionals experienced in handling the estate planning needs of those with complex family or financial situations.
Do I Need an Estate Planner?
Using an experienced estate lawyer is especially important if any of the following applies to you:
- You’re in a second (or third) marriage
- You own a business (or multiple businesses)
- You are interested in leaving any part of your estate to charity
- You have a substantial amount of assets in IRAs/401(k)s or other qualified retirement plans.
- You are recently divorced
- You have children, especially children by a prior relationship
- You have a dependent family member or family member with special needs
- You own real estate in more than one state
- Your estate may be subject to federal or state estate or inheritance taxes
- You or your spouse are not a U.S. Citizen
D.K. Rus is a professional Maryland estate planner with over 30 years of experience in her industry. Contact us to set up a free consultation, or to learn more about estate planning today.