Estate plans are not just for the wealthy or the elderly; everyone should have one. An estate plan is the process of making arrangements in advance by designating how your estate will be allocated after you die. Your estate is your net worth; it’s the sum of all your assets – property, bank accounts, and legal rights, minus any liabilities you owe –such as debt and mortgages. Having a plan will ensure that your wishes will be honored. Without one, your assets will be distributed according to state law.
The last will and testament is the main aspect of the estate plan. It provides instructions for your family and loved ones. If you have minor children, a will allows you to name a guardian to take care of them. If you don’t legally appoint a guardian, the law states that your child will be given to a spouse or closest relative, which might not be the best outcome for the child. Any final wishes you have should be included in your will. This includes healthcare decisions, funeral arrangements, respecting your religious beliefs and anything else that is important to you.
When it comes to distributing your assets, this can be included in your will or in a trust. Depending on the situation, one might be more beneficial than the other. A will is easier and faster to create than a trust, which can be time consuming and expensive. Any assets included in a will must go through the probate process, which involves the court and can take anywhere from nine months to two years. Trusts typically don’t have to go through probate, so your heirs will be able to receive their inheritance without the hassle.
You have the authority to choose how your affairs will be handled, don’t leave that power to the government. Don’t wait, create your estate plan now! The Khorozian Law Group can assist you in preparing your estate plan documents. Contact me, Linda Khorozian, at (201) 944-9200 for more information on how we can help you.