Estate Planning Questions

Why is estate planning so important?

Estate Planning is a process in which you evaluate your assets and plan for the future. It includes planning for the possibility of disability, planning for your retirement, and for death. This estate planning process requires the consideration of financial and legal issues along with the emotional expenses related to the loss of a loved one.

Estate planning is a positive experience; it involves reviewing your current situation and planning for your future. Although most people also find it unpleasant to think about the possibility of disability or death, advance planning is a way to show your love and reduce the potential distress later.

Do you need estate planning?

Every person, regardless of the value of your estate, needs estate planning. Estate planning often involves planning to reduce the amount of estate taxes due upon your death and assign who receives your property. In the event of your incapacity, you will want to designate someone to manage your affairs, to care for you and to make health care decisions.

What is involved in estate planning?

When planning your estate, your goals, needs and wishes are given the highest priority. During your estate planning process you will need to answer some very important questions. You should consider the following:

  • If you cannot care for yourself, who do you want to take care of you?
  • If you cannot manage your estate, who do you want to do so?
  • Who should administer your estate after your death?
  • Who should be the guardian of your children?
  • How should your death taxes be paid?
  • Who is to receive the proceeds of your death benefits?

What does an estate consist of?

Your estate consists of all money held in bank accounts, stocks and bonds, real estate, real property, life insurance and retirement benefits. The value of your estate is important in determining to what extent your estate will be taxed after death and the resources which you will have available in the event of your incapacity.

What if you become unable to care for yourself?

If you are incapacitated someone else must make health care decisions for you. State law defines who can make the decisions if you fail to provide instructions. However, only you know who would be best to make decisions for you. You should indicate your specific desires regarding treatment, or any circumstances in which you might want life-sustaining treatment withheld.