Estate Planning

Estate planning is a complex process that involves many steps, including:

  • Deciding who will inherit your wealth and assets once you pass.
  • Deciding who will take over your business.
  • Setting up any trust funds.
  • Making funeral plans.
  • Deciding what you want to do if you become unresponsive.
  • Choose an attorney to oversee your estate?

Basically, estate planning covers what will happen to you and all of your possessions after you die. If you do not set some type of will or plans for medical care, you will be placing a lot of stress on your surviving family members. You don’t have to have everything figured out before you pass away, but it is a good idea to have some type of a will and someone who will be appointed to oversee your estate.

At this point, you may be wondering how you can go about putting together a will and planning what happens to your estate. Don’t be fooled by financial advisors that offer one-size-fits-all solutions. Estate planning is something that has to be tweaked and fitted to each individual’s needs. Here are some of the things that you should consider when planning your estate:

  • Have you already written a will? If you already have an estate plan, or even half a plan, that’s great. However, instances may arise when you need to seek extra financial assistance. We suggest that you have a professional look over your will at least every decade, or after any major changes that your family goes through. Don’t wait too long to update your will if you recently gained a huge asset or another potential will.
  • Are you considering setting up a trust fund? Instances may arise when you need to set aside part of your wealth. You might want to bequeath a certain amount to an underage family member, someone who isn’t in your family, or an organization. Discuss your options when it comes to setting up trusts with your attorney and make sure they know your intentions.
  • Do any of your assets include joint ownership? Your attorney needs to know if someone else, like your spouse, has joint ownership of your assets. Without any will, your estate will typically be passed on to the person who had joint ownership of your estate. That includes bank accounts, properties, investments, etc. However, you need to make sure that their name is on everything.
  • Have you already made final arrangements? This is one step that is commonly overlooked when it comes to estate planning. It’s important that you make any final arrangements for yourself before you die. Your family is going to have enough on their hands without having to decide whether to pull the plug on your life support, what kind of funeral to hold, or where to bury you. It’s better if you plan these things yourself.
  • Have I already chosen a trusted attorney? ? During estate planning, you will be asked to place someone over your estate. You may be tempted to name a family member. However, you will be placing a lot of stress on that person’s shoulders. It’s better if you find an attorney that you trust, someone who knows about estate planning and your own wishes, to take care of your estate after you pass away.
  • What tax advantages do I stand to gain? Tax advantages are another way that estate planning can benefit your family. Having a plan in place will often decrease the taxes that you own on your estate. Ask your attorney what kind of tax advantages you are entitled to.

Finally, it’s important that you know what will happen if you die without having planned your estate. If you die without having a will in place, your estate will be subject to interstate succession. That means that your estate will be parceled up among your remaining family members according to state law. You will have no say in who gets what. Not only that, but your family will be subject to a long, drawn out process and extra taxes.

You shouldn’t try to take care of estate planning on your own. The professionals at SOGO are prepared to help you protect your estate and your family. Don’t wait too long to contact us.