Franklin County Estate Planning Attorneys Discuss Key Benefits of Estate Planning
In this blog post, Franklin County estate planning attorneys at Dawes Legal, PLLC highlight reasons that people need to engage in estate planning. Our law firm invites you to schedule an initial consultation to discuss the type of estate plan that best fits your needs.
Creditor Protection: There are multiple estate planning strategies that can provide a shield against creditors. An irrevocable trust can allow the trust maker to avoid exposing property put into the trust from personal injury lawsuits, creditor judgments, and other threats to the trust assets. If you have concerns about your heirs’ creditors, you can protect the trust assets from their creditors by using a different type of trust where the principle in the trust continues to be the property of the trust maker.
Incapacity Planning: Whether you are injured in a car accident or experience an illness that leaves you physically or mentally incapacitated, estate planning can protect your dignity and financial affairs. A durable power of attorney for health care designates an agent to make medical decisions in according with your wishes regarding consenting to or rejecting medical treatment. Alternatively, an advance medical directive can specify the types of end-of-life treatment that you consider acceptable or that you do not want to have performed, such as artificial respiration or tubal feeding. A financial power of attorney can empower a decision maker to handle your financial affairs. A durable power of attorney for financial decisions can be broad, so the agent steps into the shoes of the principle. The scope of authority granted to the agent also can be extremely narrow, such as a document authorizing execution of a single contract on a specific day.
Probate Avoidance: A living trust provides a means to avoid probate, which can provide the benefits of saved time and money, as well as privacy over your financial affairs. A living trust becomes effective as soon as the trust is funded, which means that the trust property is transferred into the trust. The probate process can involve costs to administer the estate, court costs, adverse tax implications, so you can often save unnecessary expenses by talking to a knowledgeable estate planning lawyer to determine if you should have a trust to avoid the probate process.
Transfer of a Business: If you own a family business, you need a business succession plan to ensure that the death of a partner does not cause disruption of the business or loss of family control of a closely held company. An effective estate plan can ensure a smooth transition or buyout to mitigate the impact of the death of a co-owner on the operation, control, and management of the business.
Guardianship of Minor Children: The possibility of both parents or a single parent passing away and leaving children without a guardian is not something most people want to contemplate. However, the failure to plan for such unpleasant situations can create enormous problems. Without a will that indicates who you wish to be the guardian for your children, a guardianship proceeding in court will be necessary typically. Aside from the cost and administrative delay associated with a guardianship action, a judge will decide who your child lives with rather than basing the decision on your preferences as a parent.
Preserving Family Assets: Most people would prefer that the family legacy remains within their family. However, family wealth could pass to your child’s spouse if your child dies prematurely. Similarly, your child’s divorce could result in a significant portion of your family assets passing to a divorcing non-blood related spouse. Frequently, estate plans are constructed to prevent this result, so assets pass to grandchildren rather than a child’s ex-spouse.
Financial Security: Without proper estate planning, surviving family members can be left in dire financial circumstances. However, a living trust can provide income replacement or the distribution of assets to surviving family members without delay. Life insurance policies also can be a component of comprehensive estate planning that provides replacement income if a family breadwinner passes away.
Our Columbus estate planning lawyers at Dawes Legal, LLC understand that you might have specific questions about your situation, so we invite you to contact us to learn about your legal options. We invite you to call us today 614-733-9999 or email us.