Most people immediately think of taking legal steps to ensure the right people inherit their stuff when they die. Although that thought is not wrong, it also highlights the importance of planning for life. Planning that’s focused solely on who gets what when you die is ignoring that death isn’t the only thing you must prepare for. Consider that at some point before your eventual death, you could be incapacitated, which can drag out over many years, leaving you and your family in agonizing limbo.
If you're like many homeowners, your home is likely your family's most valuable and treasured asset. In light of this, you want to plan wisely to ensure your home will pass to your heirs in the most efficient and safe manner possible when you die or in the event you become incapacitated. That's why it's a much responsible way to include your home into your estate plan. But before you do that, make sure to identify the best estate planning strategies when passing your home to your loved ones.
You've most likely heard people mention a couple of different types of wills when it comes to estate planning, and the most common is a "last will and testament," or known as a "will." But you may have also heard people talk about what's called a "living will." Both terms describe important legal documents, but their purpose and how they work are very different. We'll discuss some of the most critical things you should know about living wills and why it's essential in every adult's estate plan.
If you are a single parent, life for you right now probably couldn't get any busier. You are likely being pulled between work, school activities, and home - and the inevitable emergencies that fill the lives of single parents everywhere. It's a huge responsibility, even if you do share time with a parenting partner, and especially so if you don't. Regardless, as a single parent, your children's lives are now largely in your hands, and the best way to protect them is through estate planning.
Giving donations to a charitable cause is a noble act of kindness. And you are also likely well aware that as with donating to charity during your lifetime, dedicating a portion of your estate to a charitable cause can reduce the taxable value of your estate. But it doesn’t end here. You may be surprised to learn about the numerous benefits available when you incorporate charitable giving into your estate plan. Learn more here!
Although Britney's story is certainly tragic and we can't be sure how it will ultimately play out, her case has at least shined a spotlight the possible pitfalls within the conservatorship and inspires you to make certain that you and your loved ones have the proper estate planning strategies in place to prevent the loss of autonomy, family conflict, and potential abuse that comes with court-ordered conservatorships and guardianships.
To make certain that your business—and the income it generates for your family—would continue to run smoothly when something happens to you, you need to create a comprehensive estate plan, and it really needs to include a trust. Without such a plan in place, your business will be stuck in an unnecessary court process that could easily cause the loss of everything you’ve worked so hard to build.
Should you become incapacitated without any planning in place, your family should apply to the court for guardianship. In most cases, the court appoints a family member as guardian, but this isn't always the case. If you have no living family members, or those you do have are unwilling to serve or deemed unsuitable by the court, a professional guardian would be appointed. Here's how you can protect yourself in the event of your incapacity using proactive estate planning.