If you have ever heard about “estate planning,” you may have found yourself scratching your head and wondering what on earth that means. In general, this is the process people usually follow to designate how to handle assets and debts after death. Two of the main tools for managing an estate when someone dies are a will and a trust. When you look into creating either of these legal documents, you will see many references to your “estate.” If the planning part refers to the process itself, what exactly is this part? Here are three questions to help you better understand.
1. What Is It?
In a nutshell, your estate is everything you own. This includes your possessions, financial securities and cash as well as your home and any other types of land or real estate. After a person passes away, survivors often have to determine what happens to these sorts of things. With the help of an estate planning lawyer, you can come up with a plan for transferring everything that is important to you.
2. When Does It Matter?
Planning for life after you are gone may not be the way you want to spend your day, but it can make a big difference in how complicated things can be for loved ones following your death. Understanding your estate is particularly important when creating a plan. If you work with an attorney, he or she can help you determine what your estate includes. In addition, a legal professional can provide you with all of the options you have for managing assets. To do this, however, you will need to consider your estate.
3. How Can I Manage Mine?
Typically, after someone passes away, their surviving families members inherit remaining assets. Estate planning can be useful because it can make the distribution of inheritances easier. For example, you may choose to document your wishes using either a will, a trust or both. With a will, you can manage your entire estate as well as additional life factors outside of asset considerations, such as the guardianship of minor children. With a trust, you can also manage your estate, but usually people only put certain aspects of an estate into a trust. Again, this is another benefit of having a lawyer: They can help you work out the details.
No one knows what tomorrow will bring. While you may want to put off estate planning, taking care of things today with an estate planning lawyer in Rochelle Park, NJ, like from the Law Offices of Joshua Kaplan, P.L., can help make things easier for those you care about down the road. For this reason, consider contacting an attorney today.