A freak traffic accident earlier this month in Louisville involving a tanker truck should remind us of the need for estate planning. The unfortunate truth is that we cannot predict when disaster might strike, so we need to have a plan in place to provide for our families should something unexpected happen.
Traffic accident on Georgia Powers Expressway
To say the accident happened on the Expressway is a little misleading. It was reported that a tanker truck actually fell off the expressway and landed on Farnsley Road, which runs directly beneath the interstate. As a result, the westbound lanes of Interstate 264 were closed until the wreck could be cleaned up. The driver of the truck had to be extricated by firefighters. Luckily, the cargo the tanker was carrying was non-hazardous.
Why You Need an Estate Plan
In order to ensure that your assets will be protected and distributed according to your wishes at the time of your death, estate planning is necessary. If you don’t have an appropriate estate plan, drafted by a Louisville estate planning attorney, then your family will be left to deal with taxes, expenses, probate and other legal issues. Not having an estate plan also means that the decisions regarding your estate may be left to a judge, instead of you making those decisions for yourself ahead of time.
The basic benefits of estate planning
If you want to be sure your family will be cared for in the future and prepared for what happens after you die, you need a plan. Estate planning provides a way to be prepared for unexpected incapacity as well. Planning ahead should be an important goal for everyone, no matter how small you believe your estate may be.
Constructing a plan gives you the advantage of identifying who you want to inherit your property when you die. A plan also helps you to reduce the potential estate taxes, which will ultimately benefit your family. In case you become temporarily or permanently incapacitated, your estate plan can provide the security you and your family will need, when you are incapable of making decisions on your own.
Estate planning is not only for the rich
Contrary to popular belief, estate planning is not only for people who have a lot of money or assets. Estate planning actually protects anyone who has anything they want to leave behind for the ones they love. Even the smallest estate should have a plan in order to protect not only the assets but also the beneficiaries who you want to receive them. One of the main reasons to have a plan in place is that most middle class families will have a serious challenge ahead when the family’s breadwinner is no longer there to provide support.
Having an estate plan ensures that your property will be distributed the way you want it to be
The main reason many people choose to create an estate plan is to be able to guarantee that their property ends up with the loved ones they intend to have it. The reality is, if you don’t make these decisions now, the court will eventually do it for you. If the court makes those decisions it could take years to complete and may result in unhappy family members.
Estate planning also provides protection minor children
It is certainly understandable that parents don’t want to consider the possibility of not being around to care for their children while they are still minors. But it can happen, and when you least expect it. For that reason, you must consider including guardianship provisions in your estate plan. A will can accomplish this and your Louisville estate planning attorney can help.
Why you need guardianship provisions
Nearly every parent wants to be the person making all of the decisions regarding their child’s safety, care and support. In order to be able to do that, even after your death, you need to include guardian provisions in your estate plan and you need to do it before it is too late. If you don’t, a judge will make that decision for you.
Estate planning may help to reduce estate taxes
Another major goal of estate planning is reducing estate taxes as much as you can. One component of your estate plan should be to transfer your assets to your heirs with as little tax burden as possible. Although most of you will never face Federal estate taxes, those who do will be shocked at the amount to be paid.
Estate planning can prevent family disputes regarding inheritances
Determining how to divide your estate fairly among your loved ones can be a challenge. Unless you provide very detailed instructions in your estate plan, your executor will be forced to decide how everything should be distributed and to whom. Avoiding a family fight over money and heirlooms can be done through quality estate planning. In the end, after your death, you don’t want your family fighting over your personal belongings. An estate plan you can help you avoid most of the challenges that come with administering your estate.
If you have questions regarding a trust, or any other estate planning matters, contact Gersh Law Offices, P.S.C. for a complementary consultation either online or by calling us at (502) 423-7023.