You’ve heard the term before – estate planning. You know it involves setting goals and managing your assets, such as your home, bank accounts, retirement funds, and other valuable property. You also may assume that estate planning is only for people approaching retirement or the wealthy. However, the truth is that you should begin planning your estate regardless of age or level of wealth with the help of an experienced estate planning attorney in San Diego, and here are six reasons why:
Reason #1 – Protecting Minor Children
Accidents and tragedies can happen anytime, even when you’re still young and raising minor children. We understand that you’d prefer to think that nothing bad could happen, that’s completely natural. However, who will take care of your children if you and your partner lose your lives in an accident? They deserve a more secure future (and you deserve the peace of mind), which is achievable through estate planning. Therefore, not taking this step is an estate planning mistake you should always avoid.
Reason #2 – Protecting Your Properties
Even if you don’t own a ton of assets, it’s preferable to protect whatever you’re leaving behind. For example, it could be as simple as a family heirloom that you’ll want to pass along to the proper beneficiary. If you don’t have an estate plan, sentimental and valuable items could end up in the wrong hands. Certainly anyone who owns a home or has assets above the Probate threshold ($184,500 at the writing of this article) must protect their assets to at very least keep things out of a long and drawn out court process.
Reason #3 – Protecting Your Estate From Creditors
With a plan, you can help prevent creditors and other outside parties from making claims against your estate in many cases. Careful planning will preserve any leftover money and property for your beneficiaries. If you’re taking the time to create a trust, you should also incorporate strategies to give your beneficiaries some asset protection as well. Taking steps to protect an inheritance from the beneficiary’s future creditors or potential divorce should be a part of any trust you put together in our opinion.
Reason #4 – Reducing Your Tax Burden
Estate plans are also effective for alleviating any taxes that your beneficiaries will have to pay, both from an estate tax and capital gains perspective. You can transfer all of your assets in a way that’s designed to reduce what’s owed considerably. These strategies will greatly vary based on your level of wealth, but even a simple revocable trust for a very modest estate can come with significant benefits in terms of eliminating capital gains taxes imposed on beneficiaries. Strategies to minimize estate taxes for those over the exemption amount will often utilize gifting, charitable contributions, special trust owned life insurance, or otherwise shifting assets out of your estate and allowing them to grow free from the estate taxes; but, one size does not fit all for these strategies.
Reason #5 – Preventing Family Disputes
Passing away unexpectedly will cause a lot of turmoil and grief for your family. However, without an estate plan, all that pain and suffering can evolve into bitterness and conflict. Family fights can erupt over your estate and how to divide your assets. Furthermore, if you were to become incapacitated due to injury or illness, your family may also argue over how you receive medical treatment. Putting a plan together ahead of time can greatly assist in reducing this conflict and keep family united.
Reason #6 – Preparing for the Worst
Hazards in life can happen anytime, and they’re not always avoidable. You have no idea when something significant will happen, which can throw a wrench in your plans. It’s never too early to prepare simply because you want to ensure that you can take care of your family when tragedy strikes. You never know what will happen and how it’ll affect your family. You’re ultimately better off when you prepare for anything.
Contact an Estate Planning Attorney in San Diego Today
No matter your age, you need to begin managing your assets and preparing for the future. The team at Jenkins & Jenkins has the tools to help you get started. We offer you a personalized approach to estate planning, ensuring that we help you accomplish your goals. Schedule an appointment with us today!