Why Estate Planning Is Important

You work hard throughout your life, and when it comes to leaving things to the people you care about, planning your estate and making sure people get what you want them to is essential. Taking the time now to document your wishes can save your loved ones a lot of time and frustration after you pass. 

What Is Your Estate?

Your estate is really just the things you own or the money you have made during your lifetime. It can also include bills and financial liabilities if you have things that you left unpaid. Often, real estate, personal property like vehicles, and even things like the furnishings in your home are part of your estate. The value of the items may not even be very high, but they are still considered part of the estate and can be subject to probate if you have not awarded them to someone. 

Planning Your Estate

The best way to ensure that all your property, money, and items get to the right people is to take the time to plan everything while you still can. Often your wishes are outlined in your will, and you will need an excellent attorney to help you if your holdings are substantial. While you can set up a will on your own in most states, if you want the process to go smoothly, getting an estate planning attorney involved is the best option. 

A good lawyer will help you navigate the process and may suggest some things you had not considered before. If you have a large amount of money that you want to invest but still have a way to give that to someone after you die, there are ways to do that, but there are legal ramifications if you don't do things right. Your attorney can help guide you in these kinds of situations.

Probate and Avoiding It

Anything that you have not included in your will can be subject to probate. If you are not familiar with the process, probate is the process of awarding things from your estate to others through the court system. If you do not have a will or have not specified an asset in the will, the judge will award the assets in whatever way they see fit. That could mean money or another asset not getting to the person you wanted it to. 

The best way to avoid the probate process is to have a plan in place and have your lawyer present it after your death and then execute the will for you. Anything you forget could end up somewhere you never wanted it to go, and your beneficiaries may not get it simply because it was not in the estate plan.