A comprehensive estate plan is the most precious gift you can give to yourself and to your loved ones. Your estate plan can protect you and your assets during your lifetime as well as provide for the people you care about after you are gone. For most people, a Last Will and Testament serves as the foundation of their estate initial plan; however, trusts are also frequently used to help protect both assets and loved ones. At Slaton Schauer Law Firm, PLLC our estate planning attorneys are committed to helping you protect what’s important to you through the creation of an individualized estate plan tailored to your unique needs.
What Happens If I Die Without a Will or Trust?
One of the most important reasons to have at least a basic estate plan in place is to prevent the state from creating a plan for you. You do not need to have accumulated a fortune to care and plan. What happens to your assets if you die? You undoubtedly want assets such as your home, financial accounts, and vehicle to be passed down to loved ones if something happens to you. You may also have sentimental items or family heirlooms that you want to keep in the immediate family. The only way to ensure that your real and personal property is passed down according to your wishes is to have a Will or trust in place. If you pass away without a Will or trust, the state intestate succession laws decide how your property is distributed. Not only do you give up the ability to decide who gets your assets, but you also give up the right to decide how much of your assets an heir receives.
How Can an Estate Plan Protect My Loved Ones?
Along with ensuring that your wishes are honored if something happens to you, creating an estate plan protects the people you love. In the event of your death or incapacity, you want your loved ones to have access to your assets so that they do not have to worry about finances. Executing a Will allows you to decide which assets are passed down to which beneficiary. If you have cash in a savings account, for example, you can gift that cash to your spouse or to your adult children. If you have minor children, you may decide to create a testamentary trust to protect and manage the assets you want them to have until they are old enough to manage them. A living trust can also be used to decide who receives your assets while also providing additional benefits. One important benefit is that assets in a trust do not have to go through the lengthy and costly legal process known as “probate” after you are gone. This means that your loved ones will have access to cash and other property shortly after your death instead of having to wait for the completion of the legal process to access much needed financial resources. If protecting your loved ones is your goal, creating a basic estate plan is the most important first step.
The estate planning attorneys at Slaton Schauer Law Firm, PLLC look forward to helping you create an estate plan that will protect you, your assets, and your loved ones. Contact our office today by calling 512-258-9455 or filling out our online contact form.