What is Estate Planning? It is simply the process of designating the beneficiary for your assets, naming the person who will handle your responsibilities such as taxes and debts after you’re gone. A major goal is to ensure beneficiaries receive assets in a way that minimizes estate tax, gift tax, income tax and other fees, which can be avoided.
When looking after estate planning, you can refine it as time goes by, so you can change your mind later. An important question to ask is, how do you want your assets distributed after you die, and do you need help in answering these questions? Peter Fisher Lawyers gives sound advice through its lawyers specialising in wills Adelaide-wide.
Seven Steps to Estate Planning
- Inventory of Your Assets
Assets may be classified as tangible or intangible. Tangible assets include homes, real estate, cars, motorcycles, boats, collectibles such as coins, art and antiques. Intangible assets include checking and savings accounts, certificates of deposit, stocks, bonds, mutual funds, life insurance, and more. If you need more assistance and clarification regarding estate planning and wills, you can speak to Peter Fisher Lawyers for the best estate lawyers in Adelaide.
2. Protecting Your Family and Assets
After doing an inventory, you may think of ways to protect your assets and family after you’re gone.
- Life Insurance is very important if you’re married, have a family and financial outgoings such as your mortgage requires dual incomes
- Guardian or a backup guardian is important for your will. This can help avoid costly family court battles that can drain estate assets.
- Document specific care instructions for children. It should be written clearly and in detail. Don’t presume that certain family members will be there, it’s better to leave clear instructions and wishes.
3. Directives are necessary
Legal directives are important to complete your estate plan in a professional and timely manner.
- Preparing a trust will ensure portions of your assets to go to certain things, so you assign a trustee.
- Medical care directive, specifies the details for your wishes for medical care, also known as a living will if you are incapacitated or unable to care for yourself.
- Financial power of attorney allows someone else to manage your legal and financial affairs if you’re medically unable to do so.
- Review your beneficiaries in your insurance, retirement, and other accounts. Make sure the right people are your designated beneficiaries. Don’t forget to name contingent beneficiaries in the event your primary beneficiary dies.
4. Know your state’s estate tax laws
Tax laws and fees vary across different states, which is also relevant if you’ve moved house or own property in multiple states. Make sure you hire lawyers with local expertise, or who employ specialists across all areas of state planning.
Understand the benefits of professional help
Having a will and trust as part of your estate planning can prevent all the headaches, disputes, and the risk of your family or beneficiaries losing money. Estate planning in general can give clarity about what you truly want and avoid probate in the process. If you’re looking for estate lawyers Adelaide wide, speak to Peter Fisher Lawyers for the best estate planning advice.
- Reassess your estate planning from time to time
Life changes and evolves all the time, and so should your estate plan. If you want top-rated and professional estate planning services, contact Peter Fisher Lawyers for a consultation with expert estate lawyers Adelaide and nationwide.