What Is Estate Planning?
Ideally, the death of a member in the family is something that should unite the members thereof. However, the possible financial gains that can be derived from the death of the decedent, especially if it is substantial, can cause debacles among them as to who should be entitled to succeed. The effect then is a disunited family and a ruined financial empire. This is where estate planning can be very helpful to get things under control. As the word denotes, estate pertains to the properties, real and personal, movable or immovable, that has been left by a decedent waiting to be administered or disposed of by its rightful successors. Successors of the estate may be those who are specifically named in the will or in the absence of which, those who are designated by operation of law.
What are the things that you should remember if you are doing estate planning? First, you should list down all your assets. These assets should be comprised of those things that you exercise ownership or has interest. This is very important because the law recognizes the fact that you cannot give something that you do not have. Second, you should list down your liabilities like loans and taxes. This is also important because before your estates can be distributed to your heirs, these liabilities will be deducted from the estates. Meaning, if your liabilities exceeded your present assets, then your heirs would not be getting anything after all. And finally, hire an attorney in order to prepare the necessary papers for your plan. He could also be helpful in advising you how to administer your estates.
Estate planning is broader than the mere execution of the will. It also involves the process of increasing the value of the estate by reducing the taxes and other expenses. It makes use of devices such as the making of a will, powers of attorney, donations, and trusts. These are complicated processes that must be handled by a competent lawyer to ensure the success of the plan. To elucidate, there are cases that even there is a will, the wishes of the decedent did not materialize simply because the instrument embodying such wishes did not conform to the required formalities for its execution. As much as the court wants to give respect to the wills, they could not also disregard the fact that there are times that certain individuals would forge these important documents or force the testator to sign just to get more out of the latter. Probate is a strict process for the purpose of protecting the rights of the rightful heirs and according respect to the wishes of the dead. Hence, it is only important that a good lawyer should be hired to help out in the planning and putting the plan into action in order to avoid confusion and frustrations concerning the estates of the decedent.
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