It’s important to understand that the term Estate Planning is universal in its meaning. It literally has various meanings to different people based on their unique circumstances or experiences. For example, estate planning is different for homeowners, retirees, singles, widows, married couples and divorced people. Each of them faces different issues with joint owners, real estate and bank accounts. And each needs a different estate plan. At its most basic, estate planning involves the process of preparing for life events, incapacity and, eventually, death. But don’t be fooled, estate planning involves much more than just having a will. A will is simply not enough to protect you from the legal processes of probate, guardianship and Medicaid qualification. Or provide any value to your family members if you become incapacitated. Or authorize anyone to approve needed health care or medical treatment.
While many in the legal profession believe probate is a fundamental and necessary part of the estate distribution process, others feel it should be avoided at all costs, citing that it’s outmoded, slow, expensive and simply unnecessary in today’s “information age.”
Today there are a multitude of legal instruments and tools that can be used for planning: wills, living wills, powers of attorney, trusts, deeds and beneficiary designations, to name a few. When you create a plan with Legacy Assurance Plan, you get to decide the best way to carry out your legacy.
Nationwide, approximately 60-70% of Americans have no estate plan. No last will and testament, no trust, no legal documents whatsoever. If you are one of the 30-40% that have an estate plan, chances are you have only a simple Last Will and Testament. You probably also think that’s sufficient for your situation. However, is it?