No matter how you celebrate the holiday season, this time of year is a popular time to take a step back from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. It is a time to focus more on our families and the things that bring us joy. It is also common to give presents at this time of year to celebrate our most important relationships. Present-shopping can be a bit of a challenge for many Americans, particularly when one is shopping for someone who seems to have everything.
However, what many Americans do not have is a comprehensive estate plan. In fact, some sources estimate that only 4 out of every 10 American adults have a will, let alone the complex estate planning that many older adults need. If you are struggling to think of a great gift for that special somebody in your life, stop and think whether or not they could use some time and effort invested into their estate.
What are some ‘gifts' for new estate planners?
There's no need to get overwhelmed with the big picture when just starting out. Does your loved one have any sort of will in place at all, even a simple will? Depending on your loved one's current financial circumstances (and age), starting off with a simple will is a great way to get started on estate planning. Simple wills are good for individuals with small estates. Particularly if you have children, a simple will is a must to ensure that there is an executor of the estate and that the will names guardians for the children.
A living will is also a boon to have in any circumstance and any age. Living wills can speak for you if you are medically incapacitated and cannot make medical decisions independently. For instance, a living will was absolutely vital in ensuring that the hospital respected Cynthia McKennedy's wishes at the end of her life. Failure to have a comprehensive living will can cause a lot of heartache and pain.
What are some ‘gifts' for those who need more?
Unfortunately, simple wills do not cover the needs of persons who have larger estates or who want to do more complex things with their money after they die. For instance, with living trusts, you can withhold an inheritance from one of your beneficiaries until they pass a certain benchmark. To give an example, you may not want a grandchild to receive their inheritance until they enter college or until they get married. You may have an adult child that struggles with addiction and worry about how an inheritance may harm them. Living trusts can help you manage these situations, even when you die and cannot do so directly.
Living trusts can also help savvy estate planners save money. For instance, with an irrevocable living trust, you can avoid estate taxes. With a revocable living trust, you can help your heirs avoid probate. No matter what your estate's needs are, AmeriEstate's expert advice can help you create a specifically-tailored estate plan to protect your assets and maximize them for your beneficiaries.
Contact us today at AmeriEstate to learn more about how we can help you make this holiday season productive and protective.