Here’s Why You Need an Estate Plan

McNair Dallas Law

estate planning

No matter what line of work you are in, estate planning has facets that apply to everyone, and it comes down to documenting wishes and avoiding probate and unnecessary taxes. Too many people put it off, but, in general, the sooner you do it, the better.

It’s always the right time to do your estate planning, but it’s most critical when you have beneficiaries who are minors or with special needs, says the Capital Press in the recent article, “Ag Finance: Why you need to do estate planning.”

An experienced Estate Planning Attorney can ensure that an estate plan takes into account the specific circumstances in each family.  This may mean creating trusts to protect assets for heirs struggling with addictions, mental health conditions or other special needs.  It may mean specifying who will care for minor children.  Estate planning can also ensure that real estate and other assets are distributed according to your wishes.  

Probate is the default process to administer an estate after someone’s death, when a will or other documents are presented in court and an executor is appointed to manage it. It also gives creditors a chance to present claims for money owed to them. Distribution of assets will occur only after all proper notices have been issued, and all outstanding bills have been paid.

Probate can be expensive and time consuming. However, wise planning can help most families avoid this and ensure the transition of wealth and property in a smooth manner. One way to minimize the hassles of probate is to establish a trust.  Talk to an experienced estate planning attorney about establishing a living trust. Individuals can name themselves as the beneficiaries during their lifetime, and instruct to whom it will pass after their death. A living trust can be amended or revoked at any time, if circumstances change.

Living trusts also help in the event of incapacity or a disease, like Alzheimer’s, to avoid conservatorship (guardianship of an adult who loses capacity). It can also help to decrease capital gains taxes, since the property transfers before their death.

If you have questions about wills, trust creation, or other concerns, please contact our office.  We are here to help.

Reference: Capital Press (December 20, 2018) “Ag Finance: Why you need to do estate planning”

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