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Do I Need an Estate Plan?

You do not need to have a million dollars in the bank and real estate across the country in order to have an estate plan. Your estate is made up of everything you have when you pass away. Your estate includes the things you own such as your home, car, and other personal property, plus your investments, the money in your bank accounts, and any retirement plans you may have. It does not matter how much it is worth; it still needs to be designated to go to one or more people after you are gone.

Do I Need an Estate Plan? | Attorney in Raleigh NC

In this two-part series our attorney in Raleigh NC will look at why you need an estate plan as well as things to avoid when you are in the planning stages.
What happens if I don’t have an estate plan?
If you do not have a will when you die, the state will determine what happens to your estate. It may not be how you would have wanted your property and money distributed. The laws generally establish a ranking of your heirs, from your spouse to your children, then to your parents, if they are still alive, and then your siblings.
Your estate can end up in probate, which is when the courts resolve any debts and administer your estate. It can be time consuming and expensive. Your estate will have to pay the court costs and lawyer’s fees associated with the probate so it will decrease the amount your beneficiaries receive.
What does an estate plan do?
A properly executed estate plan will get your assets to your beneficiaries quickly. There are several options as to how it will be distributed, including having insurance policies paid directly, either in full or partially, as well as setting up a living trust. A good estate plan will also transfer your assets in the most cost effective manner, leaving your heirs with more money. This includes factoring in taxes on your estate.
It will also guarantee that your assets are distributed to the people you designate in the manner you want. You can also allocate money to go to your church or another charitable cause.
An estate plan can also allow you to plan for a situation that leaves you incapacitated and in need of someone to act on your behalf. If you have medical wishes you want to be carried out, they can be included in your will. The person you have named as your healthcare power of attorney can make sure they are fulfilled. You can also name someone to take care of your financial matters.
If you have a small business, you can explain how you want it to operate after you are gone, including what happens to your share of the company.  
An estate plan can give you the security of knowing that your wishes will be carried out should something happen to you. It can also give you peace of mind knowing that your family will be taken care of as well.
In the next part of this series, our attorney in Raleigh NC will look further into the misconceptions about estate planning. Be sure to visit back with us, soon!
Eldreth Law Firm | Attorney in Raleigh NC
If you don’t have an estate plan in place or haven’t reviewed yours in several years, now might be the best time to start. Our attorney in Raleigh NC is here to help you get your estate planning in order and ready should you pass in an untimely manner or become incapacitated at some point. It’s better to be safe than sorry when it comes to an estate plan. Contact our office today to get started estate planning.

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