Happy mom and daughter

Estate Planning

What you need to know about setting up a will, trust, and estate plan

Jan-09 2024

Planning for the future is an important responsibility that allows you to protect your assets, ensure the well-being of your loved ones, and leave a lasting legacy. One key aspect of this planning is setting up an estate plan. An estate plan is a comprehensive strategy that outlines how your assets will be managed, protected, and distributed during your lifetime and after your passing. However, an estate plan goes beyond just distributing your assets. It encompasses various legal documents and strategies that help you achieve specific goals, such as minimizing taxes, providing for your family's financial security, planning for incapacity, and supporting charitable causes. Moreover, estate planning allows you to have control over your affairs, ensure your wishes are honored, and minimize potential conflicts among family members.

There are many different estate plans that can help you in various circumstances. Therefore, it is important to understand the essential components of the different estate plans. A will is a foundational document that outlines how your assets will be distributed after your passing. It allows you to name beneficiaries, appoint an executor to administer your estate, and designate guardians for minor children. A trust can do much of the same but takes it one step further by holding and managing assets on behalf of beneficiaries. Trusts can help avoid probate, provide for incapacity, and offer greater control over the distribution of assets. A power of attorney grants someone you trust the authority to make financial decisions on your behalf if you become incapacitated, whereas a healthcare directive allows you to express your wishes regarding medical treatment and designate a trusted individual to make healthcare decisions on your behalf if you are unable to do so. 

Nevertheless, before you begin to set up your estate plans, it is important to identify your objectives and priorities to understand what estate plan suits your specific needs. Begin by considering your unique circumstances, goals, and priorities. Think about how you want your assets to be distributed, who you want to care for your minor children and any specific considerations you have for your family or business. You should also reflect on potential challenges that may arise, such as if you have a blended family, special needs beneficiaries, or a complex financial situation. Life is dynamic, and your estate plan should evolve with it. Review your plan regularly, especially after significant life events, such as marriage, divorce, birth of children, or changes in financial circumstances. Regular updates ensure that your estate plan remains current and aligned with your goals, providing continued protection for your assets and loved ones.

As a result, setting up an estate plan is a critical step towards securing your future and protecting what matters most to you. By understanding the purpose of an estate plan, identifying your objectives, and including the essential components, you can create a comprehensive plan that reflects your wishes and safeguards your assets.

Goodtrust provides a fast, comprehensive, and customizable way to create your estate plans. The estate planning tools provide you with an easy way to create any estate planning documents and guide you through the experience to ensure your plan is legally sound, tailored to your specific needs, and complies with relevant laws. Click here to create your estate plan to gain peace of mind and leave a lasting legacy today.