Millions of Americans put off dealing with issues relating to their estates due to either fear of the inevitable or a belief that they have plenty of time. While there may be plenty of time, the fact is, accidents do happen. Whether you don’t like thinking about it or you think you have plenty of time, if you have a family and an estate, it is never too early to start preparing.
Estate planning is much more than just a will. It also deals with what happens to your children, helps avoid delays in court and avoids unnecessary arguments between family members at an already sensitive time. There is a lot at stake when it comes to planning your estate, much more than you may have thought. In an effort to help you be prepared, we invite you to take a look at some things you should consider before planning your estate.
- Declare it – if you fail to declare who gets what in your estate, the courts will do it for you. This includes all of your assets from the house to the car.
- Understand federal estate tax rates – federal estate tax rates have been changing frequently in recently years. Even though we may be gone, our estate will still be subject to taxes and these tax rates depend on the rate determined by the federal government and based on your final return and several other factors. The estate will also be subject to state taxes as well.
- Power of attorney – it is important that you make a decision about who will be making choices with regard to aspects of your estate including your health care, finances and property. These individuals will be making all the decisions if and when you are unable to do so. In the case of health care, a living will can help ensure that any specific directives you have will be followed through.
- Consider a trust – while a will is necessity today, a trust is an added document that you may want to consider as well. It can help with tax issues and simplify other issues. These can be drafted later.
- There are many ways to help reduce estate taxes – from retirement accounts to charities to gifts which you give while you are still living, your estate planner will understand each of these issues and will be able to advise you better to your specific circumstances.
Bailey Quick-Law is a Northern MI Attorney serving clients in Gaylord, Grayling, Kalkaska and throughout all of Northern Michigan. If you have estate planning questions or are looking for an estate planning or probate attorney who can help you in dealing with your estate, The Law Offices of Daniel J. Harris, P.C. can help you. To set up your free consultation, call us today at 231.347.4444 or fill out the free consultation form to your right. It is never too early or too late to make a plan for your estate.