Don't think you own an estate? Well the good news is that you do. Estate planning isn't just for the rich and the landed gentry, it's for any one of us who owns a house, or a car, or a checking account, life insurance or even just some furniture. Your estate is everything you own and estate planning is the recognition that if you don't manage how that is transferred to your family and loved ones when you're gone, then the chances are they won't get to receive it all. Everyone knows you can't take it with you when you go, but that doesn't seem to stop a large number of us from failing to plan for how we'd like to to be handed on. That means a whole load of factors including minimising inheritance taxes, ensuring your wealth gets passed on intact, and that above all that your wishes are respected. Because you won't be there to say how it gets done.
What Happens if you Don't Plan
Perhaps you've never planned for your estate. In which case you'll find that the government has, and it might not be the plan you would have wanted. If you die without an estate plan then your assets are distributed according to the probate laws of the state. Your spouse does not automatically get all your assets as they are likely to be distributed across your family. Should you and your spouse both die and you have children then the state will appoint a guardian. Shire Financial Advice can help you avoid all that by creating a living Will and planning for your family's future the way you would deserve it to happen.
Wills and Living Trusts
There are a number of ways of planning for your estate but the most common is through a Will or living trust. A simple Will provides your instructions for the distribution of your assets, but does not usually avoid state probate at death, and the state can still appoint guardians. A living trust is more expensive to establish but allows options such as assets remaining in the trust, avoiding probate at death, and continuing to be managed by the trustees you appoint. Talk to Shire Financial Advice about the benefits of Wills vs living trusts.
Taking Care of Minors
Estate planning ensures that any young children are taken care of in the event of your death. That means deciding on whether you want trust funds, lump sums on reaching maturity, and which individuals you want to see appointed as guardians. Shire Financial Advice can help you tidy up all those loose ends to ensure your loved ones are cared for.
You want to leave behind more than just your assets right? What about encouraging your children in the way you want them to earn their living? If you create your own estate plan with the help of Shire Financial Advice you can decide whether they simply inherit your money or whether they get increments perhaps dependent on certain achievements that you wish for them to complete.