If you find yourself wondering –what is estate planning –rest assured, you are not alone. Estate planning is actually a broad area of the law that very generally addresses how your assets –or estate –will flow to your family and loved ones when the time comes. Because estate planning is a legal endeavor –and because it is essential to get it right –working closely with an experienced estate planning attorney is important to consider. At Ibekwe Law, PLLC (512-505-2753) –proudly serving both Texas and Arkansas -we have a wealth of experience helping clients like you successfully address their estate planning needs and helping them make their wishes legally enforceable after their passing.
Should I Wait Until I Have an Estate?
Many people conflate estate planning with being wealthy, and as a result, do not give it much thought. However, you do not have to live a “lifestyle of the rich and famous” to have an estate or start estate planning. Your estate refers to the assets and property that you have worked so hard to acquire to date and that you would like to remain in your family –following your wishes and without the burden of undue taxation –upon your passing.
The simple truth is that you do have an estate (we all do), and addressing the matter of estate planning sooner rather than later not only helps you protect your loved ones financially but also honors them. Your family is important to you, and your estate plan helps to demonstrate just how much.
Your estate is unique to you, and your estate plan will address your unique concerns. If you are building your career, it is an excellent time to think about estate planning, and if you have already started a family, there is no time like the present to get started. The building blocks of your estate include:
- Your bank accounts and any cash that you keep
- Your life insurance policies, investments, and other financial tools
- Your employment-related assets, including retirement accounts
- Your real property, including your home and your vehicles
- Your personal property, including any jewelry, collections, art, or anything else of value
- Your ownership in any businesses
- Electronic digital assets such as bitcoin, passwords, websites, and more
You are in the throes of building your career and raising a family, and as a result, you are plenty busy. Despite your best intentions, it is easy for estate planning to get lost in the fray. However, by taking the time to address the matter now, you help to ensure that your estate planning evolves right along with you –as your career develops and your estate grows.
The Building Blocks of Your Estate Plan
What is estate planning? It is a good question, and perhaps the most helpful response is that it is a plan you put in place to help guide how your assets (in their entirety) will pass to your family when the time comes. Additionally, your estate plan can address critical matters such as your intentions regarding your finances if you are incapacitated and guardianship for your minor children in the unlikely event it becomes an issue. The building blocks of your estate plan include:
- Preserving the value of your total assets for those you pass them to
- Reducing the tax burden your loved one will experience about your estate
- Ensuring that your intentions are carried out
- Managing your assets and addressing your health care with an advance directive (following your wishes) in the event you become incapacitated
- Protecting you and your family’s financial privacy
- Addressing the matter of your minor children’s guardianship
The primary job of your estate plan is providing you with the peace of mind that comes from knowing you are –to the very best of your ability –protecting your family into the future, and the practiced estate planning attorneys at Ibekwe Law, PLLC can help you accomplish this vital goal.
What You Need to Know
It is important to recognize that getting started now is a sign of strength–not weakness–when it comes to your estate plan. While no one wants to think about what their family will do when they are gone, proactively addressing the issue is the only way to protect your family when the need does arise adequately. Because there is simply no way to predict when this will be, having a plan in place is an excellent strategy. It allows you to address the matter head-on –with the help of an experienced estate planning attorney who understands your goals and is committed to helping you accomplish them.
Several estate planning basics can help you move forward with increased confidence and greater purpose.
Upon Your Death or Incapacity
Estate planning concerns itself with how your assets will be managed if you are incapacitated or upon your passing (in addition to addressing the critical matters of your healthcare about incapacitation and guardianship for your minor children). Within this basic framework, however, there is a good deal of room for variability.
Estate Planning Tools Available
Your estate plan will very likely begin with your Last Will and Testament, but there is a lot more to it than just this, including:
- Naming an executor of your estate
- Setting up trusts
- Arranging charitable contributions
- Identifying beneficiaries for accounts such as life insurance
- Establishing a guardian for your minor children
- Outlining your intentions concerning your health care (in the event of incapacitation)
- Outlining your intentions about your funeral arrangements
- Limiting the tax implications for your estate
What Is Estate Planning? An Experienced Estate Planning Attorney Has the Answers
The thoughtful estate planning attorneys at Ibekwe Law, PLLC–proudly serving Texas and Arkansas –recognize that you have serious questions about your estate planning needs. This is why we dedicate our practice to helping clients like you execute estate plans that address their wishes and help protect their families. We are here to help, so please do not wait to reach out and contact or call us at 512-505-2753 today.