Estate planning is documenting your wishes for how to care for your family and loved ones after you die or become incapacitated. Estate planning includes your will but also contains other documents. Estate planning ensures your property or funds go to the people or organizations you choose. There are legal precedents in Mississippi for these procedures, and an estate planner can help educate you about these precedents.
1. Why Do I Need Estate Planning?
Everyone over the age of 18 should have a will. Many people attempt to draft their own will, which is a legal option. However, you should contact an estate planner to look at your will to be sure it adequately reveals your intentions for your assets. Statistics show that 10% of people who don’t have a will or estate planning have contacted an attorney or estate advisor, and you should be one of them.
Anyone over the age of 18 needs estate planning. Death statistics have shown that in 2020, over 4,700 people died on the job – so make your wishes known while you can still make your own choices. Remember that when your estate is probated, the existence of an estate plan will reduce the time your assets remain tied up in the Mississippi Probate Court processes. With all your wishes legally documented, it could eliminate any family squabbles over your assets.
2. When Should Estate Planning Begin?
Before you go to an estate planner, you should complete some tasks independently. First, write a list of all your assets. After that, you should list the totals and numbers on each bank account. Any retirement accounts, like IRAs, should also be listed.
Bring the location and numbers of any bank accounts or insurance policies. If you are a single parent, and you anticipate having minor children after you die, you should choose a legal guardian for your children.
Any loans or debts should also be listed on your documents. Those who survive will need to be aware of these outstanding debts, as debts will reduce the amount of money their estate will be worth. If you’re a member of an organization like AARP, you may have a life insurance policy through that organization. Another reason to list group membership could be to designate a group to which people can donate funds, in your memory.
3. What You Should I Know About the Process?
When you pass away, the court will follow the instructions of your will to transfer your assets to the designated people. If your property or funds are jointly owned, the legal agreement between you and them will determine the distribution of your assets. According to Perlin Estate Planning, a Spousal Lifetime Access Trust (SLAT) can let you transfer up to $12.6 million from your estate to a secure trust for your spouse. This is a good way for you to ensure a certain amount of your funds will be directly available to your spouse, after your death.
When you visit an estate planner, they can answer questions about the estate planning process. For example, you may wonder what will happen if you pass away without a will or estate plan. If that happens, the Mississippi Probate Court will decide who gets your assets. This is one of the most important reasons for you to make your wishes known by creating a will and complete estate plan before your death.
It may not be pleasant to think of estate planning, because of its association with your eventual death. However, try to dwell on how the process will create a legacy for those you love. You’ll want them to be supported and protected, so assigning your assets to your survivors is an act of love you’ll want to document, so your wishes can be carried out.