Estate Planning: Clarifying Your Wishes


Many people have a misconception about estate planning.  For example, many will avoid doing their estate planning because they believe their assets “aren’t worth much” and think estate planning would be a waste of time and money.  The reality is that estate planning is necessary for everyone — no matter the value of their assets.  Completing your estate planning now with a qualified estate planning attorney to clearly define your intentions is an investment that can save your family financial and emotional heartache in the future.

While you might want to live forever, there is a strong likelihood that you will not make it out of this life alive.  Estate planning allows you to clarify what will happen with your assets once you pass away.  As you think about your estate planning there are a few things to consider:  1) Beneficiaries, i.e., spouse, children, other close family members and friends, or charities; 2) Property, such as real property, personal property, as well as financial accounts and investments; and 3) Distribution of the properties to the beneficiaries.

The next step is to make your plan to determine who will get what.  This may be simple or complex depending upon your distribution goals and your individual situation.  This should take some careful planning.  It is crucial you are clear how your assets will be distributed.  Having an estate plan may help avoid family disputes after your death.  When your estate plan clearly communicates your intent, arguments are less likely to occur.  Without clearly defining what you want through your will or trust, the court may decide who receives your assets, which means your final wishes may not be taken into consideration.  A poorly written will or trust can invite challenges from beneficiaries who may question validity, distribution or other concerns as well as unnecessary taxes and fees.

A qualified estate planning attorney can help guide you through the estate planning process and avoid the pitfalls of taxes, ambiguous language and directions.  Whether you want to divide your estate equally between beneficiaries or leave a little something extra to someone special, your estate planning attorney can craft documents allowing you to be as creative as you wish — while adhering to the basics of what is required and making sure you are clear in your directions. The last thing you want to leave is a legacy of strife among family members who challenge your estate planning documents.

JensenBayles, LLP provides a broad spectrum of legal services.  Thomas J. Bayles has been actively providing advice in the areas of trusts, wills, probate and tax planning in the St. George market for over 18 years. Please visit our web site www.jensenbayles.com or call 435-674-9718 and ask for Thomas J. Bayles or Phillip G. Gubler.

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