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The Importance of Probate and Estate Planning for All La Grange Families

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Many people spend more time planning vacations, deciding which car to purchase, or even where to have dinner than they devote to probate and estate planning. In the absence of estate planning, you cannot decide who gets everything that you have painstakingly built over your lifetime when you pass away.

Estate planning is not only meant for the wealthy. Even if you do not have expensive real estate, substantial IRA, or valuable artwork to pass on, without a concise plan, settling your affairs after you’re gone could have a prolonged and expensive impact on your loved ones. And in these uncertain times with entire states going on lockdown over public health emergencies, this is not a burden you want to leave to the next generation.

The following are four reasons that warrant your consideration to prevent potentially devastating outcomes for your heirs:

Protects the Interest of Beneficiaries

At one time, estate planning was believed to be the purview of the rich. However, those times have changed. These days, middle-class families in La Grange and surrounding Kentucky communities require planning for situations if something happens to the breadwinner(s) of a family.

After all, you do not have to be wealthy to accomplish substantial gains in real estate or the stock market, both of which create assets that you will want to pass on to your family or loved ones. Even in cases when you’re only leaving behind a second home, you will not have any authority over who it goes to.

The primary element of estate planning is designating heirs for your assets, whether you own a summer house or high-performing stocks. If you do not plan your estate, the courts will usually determine who gets your assets. This process can be expensive, time-consuming, and become acrimonious.

A La Grange area judge may mean well, but he/she does not know which child has been responsible and which one should not have free access to assets. On top of this, a court will not automatically decide that the surviving spouse acquires everything.

A will is an integral component of an estate plan. If a person passes away without a will, a court will decide how their assets are distributed.

Provides Protection to Young Children

Nobody plans to die young, but these days, parents of small kids should prepare for the unexpected. The will component of estate planning comes into play here.

You will want to name the guardians in the event that both parents pass away before a child turns 18 to make sure that your kids are taken care of in a way that you approve. In the absence of a will, the courts will need to step in. Not only to determine who obtains a piece of property, but to decide who will care for your children.

Creates the Least Possible Tax Burden on Your Heirs

An estate plan centers on protecting the ones you love. This also involves providing them protection from the Internal Revenue Service. A central part of estate planning is transferring your assets to beneficiaries in a manner that creates the least possible tax burden for them.

La Grange couples with substantial assets can decrease much or even all of their inheritance taxes (which can be a large amount) with even a slight bit of estate planning. Otherwise, if the value of your assets exceeds a certain threshold, your heirs may be exposed to a significant tax bill.

Avoids Family Altercations

It’s an all too familiar story: Someone wealthy passes away, and a battle between family members ensues. One sibling may believe they deserve more than others, or a sibling may feel that they should be in charge of the money matters despite being noted for racking up debt. Sometimes such altercations may take an ugly turn and end up before a judge, with family members on opposite sides.

It is vital to prevent such fights from erupting, and this is yet another good reason to have an estate plan. Planning your estate will allow you to be able to control your assets and finances if you lose your mental capacities or after you pass away. Estate planning can go a long way in preventing any family feuds and making sure that your wealth is managed the way that you want it to be.

Besides, it will allow you to develop individualized plans (if required), to make the necessary provisions for a child with medical concerns or create a trust for one who might be better off not receiving a large sum at one time. You can also give more to a child who spent the most time and effort caring for you in your golden years or less to the one who you gave money for higher education.

The Final Word

You will require an estate plan if you want to protect your assets and loved ones when you are no longer around. Your beneficiaries could face massive tax burdens in the absence of an estate plan. The courts could also determine how your wealth is divided, as well as who gets to raise your kids.

The experienced La Grange, KY estate planning attorneys at the law offices of John H. Ruby will make sure that your wishes are upheld and your family experiences a seamless inheritance process. To learn more, call today at (502) 895-2626 for an in-depth estate planning consultation for your specific case.