Something dear to my heart….for these reasons

Preparing for the future is an important issue not to be taken lightly. If you own a home, are planning to buy one, or have other investments, it’s important to protect your assets in the event something happens to you. Estate planning designates more than who will get your stuff after you die; it also allows you to choose guardians for your children and provides instructions in case you’re incapacitated for any reason.

Wills….A will outlines all of your property and financial assets, and may also designate who will receive those belongings, who will care for your dependent children and other important long-term decisions. Since you won’t be around to ensure that your wishes are carried out, you’ll appoint an executor, a person you trust, to do so. Although many people wait until they’re older to draw up a will, you shouldn’t wait. If there’s no will in place when you die, the state will determine how your assets are distributed.

While 95% of Americans want to choose who receives their property and assets when they pass away, only 45% of people have a will or estate plan in place. A complicated will may take over 2 years to settle in court.

Living Wills…Also known as a health care directive or an advance directive, a living will allows you, while you’re healthy and able, to outline your wishes regarding life support, organ donation, and overall end of life medical care. You can also designate a durable power of attorney to carry out your health care decisions, should you ever be incapacitated or otherwise unable to make those decisions yourself. This shouldn’t be be confused with a traditional will, which becomes enforceable after death.

41% of adults have a living will and 38% have a health care power of attorney to make decisions if they’re incapacitated.

Living Trusts….are similar to a will in that you can express your last wishes, designate someone to carry them out and anme a guardian for your dependent children. A trust however, gives you the flexibility to transfer your assets while you’re still alive, meaning they’ll pass to your beneficiaries upon your death without having to go through the potentially expensive and time consuming probate process. Trusts allow your to be more specific about what will happen to your assets once you’ve passed. For example, you can designate when your children will receive money or what should be done with your property. What’s more is your successor trustee, the person you’ve chosen to carry out your instructions, may also be able to manage your health care, legal and financial affairs if you become incapacitated. Setting up a living trust is often more expensive than the other options because your’ll continue to manage it after it’s created; however, it’s more comprehensive and flexible.

Benefits of a Living Trust.…Your assets will be distributed to your heirs faster, avoiding lengthy court proceedings. Your estate may save money at the time of your death since your avoid expensive court fees. And Living trusts are private, and kept private upon your death.

The Downside of not having a will….

41% of baby boomers (aged 55-64) don’t have a will. Don’t think you need one? Here’s what happens if you don’t have one.

  1. The state becomes your partner and has a stake in how to divide up your money and property.
  2. You lose control over who takes care of your minor children should something happen to you and your spouse.
  3. Your assets could be tied up in court for years as the court sorts through your property.

Source Buffini & Co. 2016