Estate planning is not just for the well-off or those approaching their golden years. Everyone, regardless of age or the value of their possessions, can benefit from preparing for the future. Each person has an “estate” that is comprised of everything they own and estate planning simply refers to the process of determining how your possessions will be distributed after you pass. By planning early, you can help to ensure that your legacy carries on in exactly the manner you wish.
Deciding who will be included among your beneficiaries can be an emotional process which many people discover to be surprisingly difficult. You can never be sure where complexities will arise and the lack of clear instructions regarding your estate can lead to confusion during the distribution process. For example, if a person not mentioned in a will comes forward with a claim to part of an estate, a legal dispute can arise. It is important allow yourself the time to create clear and proper instructions to ensure your assets are distributed among precisely those who you intend.
After you pass, your estate will be evaluated and distributed amongst your named inheritors during a process known as probate. Not every item in an estate will go through probate, however it is a likelihood that is best to prepare for early. A poorly drafted will can lead to unnecessary delays with the probate process, keeping your loved ones from timely access to their inheritance. A long probate period can also burden your loved ones with unnecessary and expensive legal fees. By identifying critical areas early on, you can utilize tools such living trusts to minimize the time and fees associated with probate – or even eliminate the need for probate completely.
Without a plan in place, the courts may be left to decide the distribution of your assets on your behalf. If you are no longer able to manage your estate, the courts may distribute you assets according to probate laws. This can leave your loved ones with only a fraction of their entitled inheritance and will more than likely contradict what you would have wanted. For this reason, creating an estate plan early is among the most thoughtful and caring things you can do for your loved ones.
Compassionate Estate Planning Services
Understanding estate planning can be a complex process and starting early gives you and your loved ones the most amount of time to finalize your plans and make necessary revisions as they arise. At the Davidov Law Group, our Nassau County estate planning attorneys can provide compassionate legal advocacy every step of the way.