Why You Need an Estate Plan

Why You Need an Estate Plan

A Will Isn’t Enough: Why Everyone Needs an Estate Plan

Many people incorrectly assume that only the wealthy need estate plans. This assumption is absolutely wrong on many levels and for numerous reasons. If you have any assets at all, you will benefit from an estate plan. A well-developed plan protects your assets, your loved ones, and your legacy after you die.

Protecting your future and assets against life’s uncertainties

If you think you don’t have an estate, think again. Your estate consists of things like your primary home, other real estate holdings, investments, bank accounts, cars, boats, life insurance, businesses, personal possessions – literally every asset you own. An estate plan protects your property in the event you become disabled or die and from a myriad of external influences, such as death taxes, probate courts, creditors, divorcing spouses, and many other contingencies. In short, in addition to protecting your assets from life’s uncertainties, it also spares loved ones the additional grief, expense, delay, and frustration arising from managing your affairs after you’re gone. Important benefits of estate planning include:

Preventing family messes. It’s common to hear of family members fighting amongst themselves, sometimes quite bitterly, where inheritance is concerned. It’s unfortunate and can happen in any family, but a well-developed estate plan can prevent this type of family drama after you die.

Providing for beneficiaries. An estate plan is critical for ensuring your assets are divided among family members, other loved ones, and even charitable organizations in the manner you wish. Some people even include protections for their pets.

Avoiding probate court. Even if you have a will in place, without an estate plan, your family members and others may end up spending a long time in probate court, which can become very expensive, time-consuming, and frustrating.

Protection from the IRS. Estate planning provides a path for transferring assets to heirs while creating the smallest tax burden possible for them by reducing much or even all of estate and inheritance taxes. Nobody wants to give the IRS more than absolutely necessary. Without an estate plan, it’s possible that a huge chunk of your assets could go to the IRS instead of your beneficiaries.

How is an estate plan different from a will?

Many people think an estate plan and a will are almost the same; but, in reality one is simply part of the other. A will provides the foundation upon which an estate plan is developed. An estate plan is a set of legal documents that lays out a broader plan of action for your assets and greater legal protections, which may apply during your life as well as after death.

At its most basic, an estate plan includes:

  • Will
  • Revocable living trust
  • Durable power of attorney
  • Advance directive for healthcare
    • Living will
    • Healthcare power of attorney

Depending on your personal situation and needs, an estate plan may include any number of other legal instruments of protection, such as an irrevocable trust, various insurance policies, and more. While it’s vital to have a will, most people need an estate plan, which incorporates the will, but also provides comprehensive legal protections.

Set up a consultation with an experienced estate planning attorney now, so you can discuss how an estate plan can benefit you today and in the future.

Hear From Our Clients

“On the threshold of retirement, we finally decided to quit thinking we could self-prepare the requisite documents. We had previously had only a very simple will. We needed the necessary legal (including updated will) & health care docs but didn’t want to deal with the time & complication of legalese. Cindy made the process relatively painless. She took the time to explain and answer questions without trying to upsell services. We were done in 2 meetings plus the reading of emailed drafts. In addition to preparing the documents, Nelson Eldercare will be there when our adult children need advice on executing the plans we’ve put in place.So glad it’s behind us and would recommend Cindy and her helpful staff.”

- Bonnie

Cindy and her company treat their clients like family. Nelson’s offers clear, direct, and honest guidance in planning for your families security and future. No one wants to actively sit down and make these decisions, but Nelson’s makes this process seamless. I was so impressed with their willingness to answer all questions big or small. So glad I made the decision have them help my mom and dad and now me. You can’t go wrong with Nelson’s Elder Care Law.

- Hope

The very best elder law attorney and staff anyone could ever ask for! I have referred a number of clients to Cindy and she never disappoints. She is kind, caring, and extremely thorough in making sure everything is completed as it should be. I highly recommend Cindy for anyone needing lawyer services; she truly goes above and beyond for every client she helps and has had a huge impact in so many peoples’ lives. Thank you, Cindy and staff, for everything that you do- I’m so glad to know you!

- Kerri

I heard Cindy’s presentation at a Senior Luncheon at my church, and was very impressed. She helped my daughter and me understand many aspects of elder law. Josh has also been very helpful in my planning to enter an independent living situation . I have told many friends about them.

- Charlotte

Cindy and the Nelson Elder Care Law team are trustworthy and helpful. They are the experts in elder care law. At Leaf Cremation, we entrust our families to the care of the Nelson team when their services are needed.

- Pierce