Estate Planning Overview
“In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.”— BENJAMIN FRANKLIN, Letter to Jean Baptiste Le Roy, 13 Nov. 1789
Benjamin Franklin once said that the only things in life that are certain are death and taxes. Not much has changed in 225 years. Because life is not certain, it is definitely advisable to have your affairs in order. You have been responsible to take care of your family during your lifetime. Why would you not take care of them after you are gone?
We have all heard the horror stories. Almost every family has its own. Family members fighting after the death of a love one because of uncertain planning. Families spending months and years in court because of improper planning. At the Virginia law firm of GBSR Attorneys, we believe that families should not have to be torn apart after the death of a loved one. We believe that proper estate planning is the first step.
Identifying Your Unique Goals
One of the most important parts of estate planning is understanding your particular goals. Depending on your family’s situation and needs, your estate plan may be crafted to:
- Provide financially for your spouse, if you should pass away first
- Protect the inheritance of children from a prior marriage
- Name guardians for your minor children or disabled adult children
- Designate beneficiaries for your retirement accounts and other assets
- Pass the family business along to the next generation
- Minimize the tax ramifications of estate administration
- Accomplish other goals unique to your situation
Choosing The Correct Tools
Our Smith Mountain Lake lawyers can counsel you about the best estate planning tools to use to accomplish your goals. These tools may include a:
- Will — A will is one of the most basic yet vital parts of any estate plan. It appoints an executor to carry out your wishes after your death.
- Revocable living trust — This tool may reduce the cost and time associated with estate administration.
- Living will — Sometimes called an “advance health care directive,” this clearly explains your wishes in regard to end-of-life care.
- Power of attorney — Financial powers of attorney and health care powers of attorney designate someone to make decisions on your behalf.
- Guardianship — Name someone you trust to care for your minor children.