• McNickle & Bonner

What Is Estate Planning and Should I Seek Out Help for It?

Life is filled with uncertainties. There's one sad reality, though - everyone will be laid to rest someday and pass on assets to heirs, making estate planning very crucial. While you may think estate planning is a rich people thing, the truth is that it is beneficial for everyone.



What is Estate Planning?

Estate planning is the process of setting up who gets your property when you pass away. You don't have to own pricey homes to set it up. Your cars, real estate, bonds, bank accounts, and everything you own are part of your estate.


With estate planning, you not only ensure the right people get your asset but that a substantial part of it is not lost to taxes.


Estate planning goes beyond making sure your assets get to the right beneficiaries. It also involves:

  • Planning for your healthcare needs


You can leave instructions about your healthcare when you become incapacitated. You can give someone you trust power of attorney to make healthcare decisions for you when you cannot do so.

  • Planning for your financial needs


Estate planning enables you to designate a power of attorney to take control of your accounts and investments and make financial decisions on your behalf when you become incapacitated.

  • Reducing taxes


If you have a substantial amount of wealth, you can transfer it to beneficiaries without being heavily taxed. Your estate plan will contain strategies that avoid or reduce expensive taxes so your heirs can inherit much of your wealth.

  • Making final arrangements


Do you prefer cremation or want to donate your organs? What kind of ceremony do you want? You can state all of these in your estate plan.

  • Care for your young children


Your estate plan can name a guardian responsible for caring for your young children.


Without a plan in place and in the absence of both parents, your children may be placed in a foster home.



Should I Get Help for Estate Planning?

Perhaps, you've thought about creating your estate plan yourself or came across websites advertising DIY wills.


It may be appropriate to do so in some circumstances, such as if you have limited assets and desire to pass them on to the closest relative. It's a smart decision to get help in some scenarios such as these:

  • You have a significant estate

  • You have a large family

  • You have special-needs children

  • You have children under the age of 18

  • You own a business and or investments

  • You have assets in several states or even outside the country

  • You want to set up a charitable trust

  • Your assets will be heavily taxed

Seeking the help of a professional with estate planning ensures that the state's laws are taken into account, enables you to leverage tax-saving opportunities, prevents hostile litigation after you pass away, saves you time and money, and ensures all your personal objectives are met. Talk to an experienced estate planning attorney today.