Estate planning is simply planning in advance to deal with financial, legal, business and health care matters in the event of your death or incapacity, says Adam Shealy, a partner at The Van Winkle Law Firm.
“You want to have a plan in place where the right people have the tools and authority to manage your affairs,” he explains.
An estate plan lays out your end-of-life wishes and minimizes taxes and other avoidable costs that can occur, which lessens the burden on your loved ones.
An estate plan for your needs
“There is no one-size-fits-all estate plan that everyone should have, but everyone should have an estate plan of some type that’s tailored to their unique circumstances,” says Shealy.
Regardless of your age or stage in life, you can benefit from planning ahead. You should consider an estate plan if you are:
- Young and single
- Starting a family
- Middle-aged and in your highest earning years
Once you have an estate plan, you can expect to meet with your attorney about every five years, or sooner if you experience a major life event, such as:
- A birth in your family
- A death in your family
- A large inheritance
Can I afford an estate plan?
Whether you have $10 million, $100,000 or $10,000 in assets, you can benefit from estate planning.
“A lot of people will put it off because they’ll say, ‘I’m not wealthy and estate planning is for wealthy people—it’s going to be so expensive,’” says Shealy.
“I went to Disney with my family a couple of years ago and you can very easily spend $5,000 or $6,000 for one week at Disney,” he says. “I can assure you that the cost of a well-designed and implemented estate plan is just a fraction of that amount.”
It’s important that you sit down with a lawyer who understands the issues and the law, and who has been through estate planning before with countless other families. An experienced trusts and estate attorney can help you design a plan that’s going to carry out your wishes and take care of your family and legacy for years to come.
Learn more about how the estate planning team at Van Winkle can help protect your family’s future.