Most people know they need an Estate Plan, even if they don’t know exactly what one is or how to get it. The concept of a Will is pretty common in pop culture: a document that explains what you are leaving to your loved ones. What is less commonly known is what all an Estate Plan can do – and how to properly make one.
Estate Planning is the process of working with an attorney to create a legally binding plan (which is known as your Estate Plan) for what will happen to your remaining belongings and property (known as your estate) and money (known as your assets) after you pass away. Estate Planning can be accomplished through many different methods including Wills, Trusts, and Healthcare forms.
Estate Planning is important because when someone dies without a legitimate Estate Plan in place, their estate passes into probate court. In probate court, those crucial decisions about your estate and assets are made by a Judge in the state where you lived. Without an Estate Plan, you don’t get to choose which of your loved ones receives what – a Judge who has never met you does.
Estate Planning can also cover much more than just assigning new owners of your belongings. Parents of minor children can use their Estate Plan to select a guardian who would raise their kids if anything unexpected should happen. You can use your Estate Plan to set a plan for who you want to take care of you and how you want to be treated later in life. You can even use certain Estate Planning strategies to help improve your taxes.
As we mentioned, Estate Planning is done with the help of an attorney. The process can be as lengthy and involved as you want it to be. To create the bare necessities, it is not that expensive or time-consuming of a process. Unfortunately, this doesn’t stop people from trying (unsuccessfully) to create their own for themselves.
There are two main kinds of DIY Estate Planning we see, and they are both doomed to fail. The first is simply a handwritten note, often typed up by the person themselves, simply stating who they want to receive their stuff. This would not hold up in court. The other is an online scam, filled out after buying a generic template through a service like LegalZoom or Rocket Lawyer. Since Estate Plans are tailored specifically to the life of whoever creates them (and the state they lived in,) Estate Plan templates are often completely useless.
An Estate Plan is important, but you cannot create one on your own. Fortunately for you, at Solan, Park & Robello, we make Estate Planning easy. If you are ready to get started creating your Estate Plan, contact Solan, Park & Robello today! We bridge your future to your past.
Solan, Park & Robello
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