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Estate Planning: The Need

Estate planning is not only for elderly people or wealthy people as such. You will be saving your family from excessive taxes, legal battles, legal fees and of course family fights if you look upon and control over how do you want your assets to be distributed amongst your family members after your death.

By default, everyone has an estate plan. The government has defined rules on how your assets will be distributed after your death. If you die without a will, you have an intestate will, will created by the state.

As with many things in life, it seems like estate planning can wait until the next day. It is pretty obvious that no one in clear senses plans for his/her death. Or it may be the expense that’s keeping you at bay. Possibility that you just have no idea about the legal process your family might have to go through after your death for the possession of the assets and wealth you have left for them. Your estate plan can save them all that time and money.

Your estate planning allows you to decide how your assets will be distributed and can help your family avoid the hassling probate process, estate taxes, and long legal battles that can rip a family apart.

A will provides for the distribution of property owned by you at the time of your death in any manner you choose. Your will cannot, however, govern the disposition of properties that is beyond your sole authority like joint property, life insurance, retirement plans and employee death benefits, unless, of course if they are payable to your estate.

Wills can be of different types used as according to your need. There are simple will, testamentary trust will, pour over will, which have different degree of complexity and can be utilized to achieve a wide range of family and tax objectives. Whatever may be the definition of different types of wills, you are in sole control over how and to what scale you want the distribution of your assets. This is the picture you draw in your life time what you want for your family after your life. The purpose of the trust arrangement (as opposed to outright distribution) is also to ensure continued property management and creditor protection for the surviving family members, to provide for charities, and to minimize taxes.

Besides providing intended disposition of your property to spouse, children etc., your will can accomplish many other important objectives:
•    You may designate a guardian for your minor child or children
•    You may designate an executor of your estate in your will and eliminate the need for a bond
•    You may choose to acknowledge or otherwise provide for a child in whom you have an interest, or an elderly parent, or other individuals.
•    If you are a custodian for the assets of a child under the Uniform Gift (or Transfers) to Minors Act, you may designate your successor custodian and avoid the expense of a court appointment.

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