What is an estate plan and how will it help you secure your family's financial future? An estate plan is a set of documents, including wills and trusts, that ensures that your family's finances are distributed correctly, protected from taxes and controlled responsibly. An estate planning attorney will help you set up a variety of ways to ensure that your children continue to be taken care of after you pass, regardless of what happens in the future.
Create Trust Accounts
Trust accounts aren't only used to dole out funds in a controlled way to your kids -- though that's important, too. One of the major components of a trust fund is that it can remain under your control. If you simply gave your money to your child, their spouse might be able to take some of it during a divorce. If they have a trust established, this will not happen. Trust accounts also help you reduce the amount of taxes your child will have to pay, thereby ensuring they get the most use out of the money.
Take a Look at Your Debts
Estate planning isn't just about wills and trusts. It's also about creating a realistic plan for your family's inheritance -- which includes debt planning. Your attorney and your accountant can both help you create a plan to eliminate debts or at least ensure that your debts do not overshadow your assets. Remember, though your children will not inherit your debts, the inheritance will be used to pay off the debt before being distributed.
Craft an Official Will With Your Spouse
Too often individuals create their own wills or create their wills independently -- this isn't a good idea. You should always be on the same page as your spouse with wills because they can become conflicting, especially if one or both of you forgets to update it. To make sure that your children are taken care of, you should have both your wills drafted professionally and witnessed by at least two people. A will should also be notarized if you want to protect it from being successfully contested.
Proper estate planning is the only way to be absolutely certain that your family is taken care of -- and it's usually fairly affordable, too. Even setting up a trust generally only costs a few thousand dollars, so it's a good idea to get an estate plan completed early and update it as necessary.
Work with an estate planning lawyer, like Linn Schisel & DeMarco Attorneys At Law, to take care of your children now and in the future.