Louisville Estate Planning lawyer
Estate Planning Attorneys Proudly Serving Louisville, KY
Estate planning is one of the most important steps you can take to protect yourself and your loved ones. Proper planning can help you prepare for unforeseen circumstances such as accidents and death. It allows you take charge of your finances and provides a cushion for your loved ones in the event of your death or incapacitation.
Contrary to what many believe, estate planning is not for only the rich. The term ‘estate’ does not necessarily refer to massive wealth. Your single car, house and even the money in your bank account form part of your estate. Even your life insurance policy constitutes part of your estate.
You should have a plan for what will happen to these assets in the event of your death. If you don’t plan for how they will be disposed, the laws of your state will dictate their disposal. This may produce results far from what you may wish. You’ll understand here why you should have a current estate plan and how a Louisville Estate Planning Lawyer can help.
What is estate planning?
Estate planning concerns the process of organizing all your assets and making plans to manage them during your lifetime, at your death and after your death. The plan allows you decide who will inherit you and how the process should go.
It also helps you provide for your dependents in the most tax efficient manner possible. Your dependents are all those that rely on you for financial support. They may include your spouse(s), ex(es), child(ren), parents, grandparents or siblings.
Why is Estate Planning so important?
There are several reasons why estate planning should be part of your life plans. Here are three of them:
Provide for incapacity
Estate planning helps you authorize your loved ones to act for you if unable to manage your affairs due to ill health or incapacity. While you may think you do not need a document to authorize this, the truth is that the process is not automatic. Ordinarily, in order for them to be able to do this, they would have to petition a court to declare you legally incompetent. This process is often lengthy, costly and quite avoidable. Estate planning allows you to plan for this event.
In the event of death, the will you leave will pass through probate court in an expensive and time-consuming process which is also open to the public. Every asset that makes up your estate will have to be declared, and this information will be available in public records.
Also, the probate court dictates the process until all matters about your estate are settled and all assets distributed. This can put your surviving family in the tenuous position of not having immediate access to funds to pay for expenses while your estate is being settled.
Proper estate planning allows you to pass your estate to your loved ones in a private, quick and inexpensive process that can bypass probate.
Avoid excessive taxes
There are many types of estate and inheritance taxes that you should be aware of – both at the state level and at the federal level. In addition to awareness, there are strategies that are implementable to reduce or eliminate these taxes. You must start planning your estate early enough so that you can put in place many of these strategies.
Common estate planning strategies
Estate planning strategies are numerous and ingenious, and even more are being developed every day. Here are three of the most common strategies.
Power of Attorney
This is a document that gives another person the authority to act on your behalf in financial or medical situations. This document is used to plan for incapacitation as a result of an accident or ill health. The extent of the power the person gets is dependent on how much you are comfortable giving.
This is a legal arrangement in which a person (a trustee) holds the legal title to a property for the benefit of another person (the beneficiary). The arrangement allows you protect your assets or provide for your heirs by transferring assets to an entity that will administer them on your behalf. A common type of trusts is the living trust.
This is a document that states your wishes for the distribution of your assets upon death. Wills are the most basic type of estate planning strategy. When validly drawn up, they will be key to protecting your wishes in the event of death.
How can a lawyer help you?
Our Louisville probate lawyers will help you with the strategies referenced above and also provide insight into other ways in which you can properly plan your estate. Contact us at Triplett & Carothers to start a conversation about planning your estate.