Ever wonder what your estate really is? Do you need a will to protect your estate? When does your estate matter? Here are some answers.
What Is Your Estate?
Your estate refers to your property, anything of value that you own. It includes your home, real estate, antiques, insurance, and assets. Your estate may even include your liabilities because those debts will have to be dealt with at some point. The main times that your estate comes into play is when you die or if you ever have to file for bankruptcy.
Should you ever file for bankruptcy, your estate’s value will be assessed to determine whether you can pay your debts or not. Some assets may need to be sold to repay debts. In bankruptcy, you may be able to keep your home and car if you can continue to pay the loans.
Estates are usually most important at the time of death. Your wealth, as small or large as it is, will go to your beneficiaries. Estate planning lets you determine how your estate is divided and who inherits the property. If you don’t have a will, the court will determine how your estate is distributed.
Do You Need Estate Planning?
Many people think that wills are only for people who are worth millions of dollars, but anyone who has assets should have a will. A will outlines your decisions as to who inherits what. This saves your beneficiaries time after your death. Your estate may still need to go through the probate system, but instead of a judge making decisions for you, you have already determined who gets what. A will is your intent. An executor is a person who you appoint to carry out your wishes.
Estate planning not only focuses on your will, but it can also include ways to save your beneficiaries money upon their inheritance. Some families place their assets in trust as a way to pass wealth from one generation to another to avoid inheritance taxes and to protect the assets.
Estate planning by an attorney can help you find the best ways to protect your assets while you’re living and upon your death. Estate taxes vary by location and estate laws are often complex. Your estate lawyers will make sure that your directives are legal and will be followed.
Don’t take your estate for granted. Plan ahead to make the transfer of ownership to your spouse or children easier when you do pass away. Talk to a Memphis estate planning lawyer about your situation.
Thanks to Wiseman Bray, PLLC for their insight into estate planning and how to protect your estate.