If you are getting older or have a chronic illness, you may have spent time thinking about what would happen to your loved ones if you were to pass away, or if you could no longer take care of yourself. Despite these concerns, you may have put off estate planning. By planning your estate properly, you can protect yourself and your loved ones from serious legal difficulties.
Here are five ways estate planning can benefit you and your family:
- Avoid Appointment of a Guardian
- An important part of any estate plan is establishing advance directives, such as a Power of Attorney or Health Care Proxy. These advance directives can designate someone to take care of your legal, financial, and medical affairs if you become unable to handle them yourself. Without these advance directives in place, your loved ones may be forced to seek guardianship over you, which is a complicated legal process that puts your fate in the hands of the courts.
- Avoid a Court Appointed Estate Representative
- Another important decision to make when planning your estate is to decide who will be the executor of your estate. The executor is the person responsible for ensuring your estate is divided as you would like, and they represent your estate in court if it gets challenged. If you do not name an executor, the court will name one for you, meaning your estate could be put in the hands of someone you do not like, or even a complete stranger.
- Avoid having your estate go to unintended persons
- The choosing your beneficiaries is one of the most important decisions in your estate plan. Whether you do it through a Last Will and Testament, or through other means like a Trust, determining who will inherit your estate should be outlined in an estate planning document. Failing to do this can result in people inheriting your assets that you may not like or want in your estate plan.
- Avoid Will contests
- Even if you plan your estate perfectly, there is always the risk of your Last Will and Testament being contested by one of your beneficiaries. A well-constructed Last Will and Testament has a much better chance of withstanding a legal challenge than an incomplete or improperly drafted one. Failure to perform proper estate planning, could result in a fight over your Last Will and Testament.
- Avoid Dealing with creditors and tax authorities
- Unfortunately, death does not stop creditors from pursuing their claims against you. They are permitted to file a claim against your estate. Your estate may even be liable for the payment of taxes. If you do not take proper precautions, your loved ones’ inheritances could be siphoned off to pay your debts and taxes rather than helping to ensure their financial security.
Whether for yourself or for a loved one, estate and elder law planning can be overwhelming and emotionally taxing. The legal professionals at Hobson-Williams P.C. will advise you on the options available to you, and help you establish a plan that best suits your needs. Call (718) 210-4744 or visit our contact page to speak to one of our attorneys and learn how Hobson-Williams P.C. can help you gain the peace of mind that comes from being prepared for the future.