Next to public speaking, death is at the top of the list of things most feared by people. Being afraid of dying just adds to the general uncomfortable sense that people may feel when comes to planning for the day when you do die or become incapacitated but it’s one of the most important things you can do to protect your assets and ensure that your loved ones aren’t left with a huge mess to straighten out and lose much of what you worked hard to obtain while you were alive.
Based on a study conducted in 2008 by Harris Interactive, it was found that 58% of all adults lack a last will and testament.
What is estate planning?
According to Wikipedia, “Estate planning is the process of anticipating and arranging for the disposal of an estate.”
An estate is simply the net worth of a person or the total amount of their assets or belongings that may be of value. These may include financial accounts, property, insurance, legal rights, interest, real estate, businesses, cars, collections and other valuables (minus any liabilities they may have).
What should your estate plan include?
At the minimum, your estate plan should include the following:
- Power of Attorney for Finances – helps to manage your finances when you can’t
- Power of Attorney for Health Care – helps to manage your healthcare when you can’t
- Simple Last Will and Testament – helps to manage and distribute your property after death
Other options to consider during estate planning include:
- Living Will
- Revocable Living Trust
- Irrevocable Life Insurance Trust
- Tax Planning Trust
Do you need an estate plan?
If you’re not sure whether or not you need an estate plan, consider the following questions:
- Do you have minor children?
- Are you facing medical conditions?
- Do you want to decide where your assets go?
Estate planning helps to manage your assets in a way to minimize probate and taxes, to keep your assets from being assigned by law and to have your healthcare needs met the way you want rather than how a court may decide.
Julie Phillips, small business attorney at Worley Law, LLC, appeared at the Dublin Entrepreneurial Center (DEC) in Dublin, Ohio on February at the STARTUP Columbus “Thirsty Thursdays” – Marketing, Legal, Wills & Biz Succession to inform entrepreneurs about how to protect their assets after death through estate planning. At this Jelly @ the DEC event, she, along with Christina Worley of Worley Law, also addressed various issues related to business owners, including business succession following death. If you have questions, contact them directly or consider coming out to the DEC for free consultation sessions by Christina Whorley.
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