Legal Tip of the Week | 8/4/2017

COLUMBUS (NBC4Law) — Some of the most common questions we encounter at the Law Offices of Dupont & Blumenstie are do I really need to engage in Estate Planning, when do I need to get started, and how large and involved is an estate plan?

The answer is every adult needs to engage in some level of estate planning, but the amount varies from case to case.

For example, an estate plan is not just the creation of a will or creation of documents. An estate plan is developing a frame work to build, protect, and transfer assets and wealth. You can never get started too early on that.

The Law Offices of Dupont & Blumenstie deal with young families that don’t think they need an estate plan in place, and then life happens.  A car accident or some other misfortune throws their entire world into disarray.

Estate planning is a process which we begin at some point and continue to modify as we go move on down the road. When we first buy a home, we want to make sure that we have it protected for our spouse, or if we are single and we buy a home, we want to make sure that if something happens to us, it passes to someone.

The absence of a will if a single person passes away is that there is no one that has been established to take care of settling your affairs. Anyone can step into that role such as a family member, friend, or a creditor. If you do not have a will and you are single, you are leaving it to chance. Not only are you leaving who is going to take care of your estate to chance, but you are leaving the disposition of your estate to the schedule set forth in the law. So while you may wish to benefit a niece or a nephew, it will not go to their care.

Families also need to have wills. Families typically also have a trust agreement.  Why are we engaging in the act of estate planning when we have a family? To take care of our children isn’t it? The best way to take care of our children as a matter of law is going to be using a trust.

Let’s look at other situations. We have older children, we are more advanced in our life, and we have assets. A trust can be used in connection with that Estate Plan to assure that the persons that receive your assets receive them in a manner that is protected from events in their life. We frequently use Trusts to protect assets that a child would inherit from creditors or bad relationships.

Estate Planning is multi-faceted. It can deal with simply the passing of assets to your children, charity, or planning for events in your life that can leave you incapacitated. If you don’t take action to put an estate plan in place, you leave the decision of your care to the courts; the determination of the management of your assets to the courts.

Do you want certainty? Do you want to control where your assets go? Do you want to be certain that your wishes are listened to and followed if you have care issues? All of these are dealt with through Estate Planning. So if you would like to learn more about estate planning and whether or not you should act on starting an estate plan click below.

Please note that this is not legal advice, and we recommend that you consult an attorney such as our NBC4Law partner the Law Offices of  Dupont & Blumenstiel.

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