Some articles and reports on estate planning lead off with a statement that many people find the topic challenging and even intimidating.
Candidly, they do.
Moreover, a good number of individuals and families in Ohio and nationally view the estate planning realm as a province for only the ultra-rich. And, indeed, splashy tabloid accounts often do spotlight the estate plans of fabulously wealthy celebrities and business tycoons.
Here is a central truth relevant to estate planning and administration, though, and one that is being increasingly recognized across the country: A timely tailored, well drafted and periodically updated estate plan can materially benefit just about any individual.
Sound estate planning promotes broad and varied interests
Have you executed a will?
That is a question that surfaces quickly and often in discussions surrounding estate planning.
And it is certainly a valid query. A planner’s well-considered and crafted will serves as a fundamental future-focused document. It is the legal instrument pursuant to which a planner provides for the disposition of property following his or her death.
A proven and empathetic estate planning attorney will ensure that a valued client’s will is drafted with care and precision.
Experienced legal counsel will also convey, though, that a will is often but a single component in a plan. Many planners’ best interests can be additionally promoted through the employment of additional tools and instruments that work seamlessly with wills or in stand-alone fashion. A trust is a prime example.
An estate planning trust’s impressive utility and flexibility
Some planners execute one or more trusts in lieu of or in addition to a will. Those instruments can confer many and broad-based benefits, including these:
- Valued degree of privacy (a trust can enable loved ones to avoid the public nature of the probate process)
- Reduced and sometimes eliminated tax exactions
- Protection against future legal disputes and creditors
- Assurances re assets distributed among heirs
- Planner’s continued control of assets while alive
- Promotion of goals linked with family legacy and charitable giving
- Safeguarding of interests re a loved one with special needs
Those bulleted points cover broad terrain, but their spotlight hardly encompasses all of a trust’s potential benefits. And a sound estate plan can have many additional upsides as well.
Estate planning: It’s not just about wills and trusts
The bottom line concerning estate planning is that it can promote certainty and well-being for a planner and multiple generations to come. A plan can designate a trusted guardian for young children. It can appoint an agent to step in and make key decisions in the financial and health car realms in the event a planner becomes incapacitated. It can promote family-linked candor and transparency at an important early juncture. It can provide for business succession.
And it can accomplish much more than that in any given case. A prospective planner can readily reach out for assistance to an experienced legal planning team.