Matuszak Law Estate Planning: Why you NEED a plan:
Anyone would agree, having a plan for your assets should the unexpected happen is important. You never know when you will encounter a life changing event such as: incapacity due to an injury or disease, the death of a spouse, an extended hospital or nursing home stay, or just plain outliving your income.
Around 75% of Americans do not have any estate plan whatsoever. Many think they are too young for an estate plan. Many don't understand the impact of even one of the life changing events mentioned above can have on their finances and assets. Many don't understand how difficult the probate process (going to court) can be without having your wishes known. Most think, "it will never happen to me."
So, what happens if you don't have an estate plan in place? If anything happens to you, your family will probably have to go to probate court and prove that you died intestate (without a will). In Tennessee, there are intestacy laws that dictate how your assets are distributed. I have never met anyone who looked at the intestacy laws and agreed that they were the best way to distribute their assets. After that, someone you know has to volunteer to become the executor of your estate and distribute your assets according to Tennessee's intestacy laws and a judge's orders.
Most people hire an attorney to guide them through the probate process, which is a great idea. However, if you are proactive and plan your estate in a fiscally responsible and thorough manner, your spouse and heirs will never have to set foot in a courtroom. The goal of a good estate plan is to keep your assets out of the courts and with the family and/or your chosen beneficiaries where they belong.
One way we keep estates out of probate court is with trusts. It is important to note that not every estate requires a trust to avoid probate. Depending on your assets, it may be that your best solution is a simple will and powers of attorney. We will help you understand what is best for you with our personalized estate plans, and promise to never recommend anything that you don't need.
In the simplest terms, a trust is a the transfer of assets by a grantor (you) to a trustee (who is also you) for the benefit of your beneficiaries. You control the trust and your assets for as long as you choose or are able. There are always provisions for incapacity in the trust, and in the event of incapacity or death, a successor trustee that you appoint takes over and has immediate access to your assets. No need to wait for the slow wheels of justice to turn for your family to have what they need during what will likely be a hard time for them.
At Matuszak Law, we will help you understand which estate plan is best for you and your beneficiaries.
Call today for a free consultation! I look forward to helping you understand estate planning and protecting your assets should the unexpected happen.
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