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Estate Planning 101

February 19, 2012 | Comments: 0 | Views: 141

A little over one-third of Americans have a will, but fewer than half have any estate documents at all. Most people don't want to think about dying. Considering it's an uncomfortable topic, many people don't do anything about estate planning. However, it is important for many reasons and shouldn't be overlooked.

By making arrangements for your final days and beyond, it not only helps your family and friends through a difficult time, but it makes sure your assets are managed and disposed of the way you want it when you die or become incapacitated. Other reasons why you should do estate planning include:

If you own your own company, it is crucial for the protection and continuation of your business.It established who is responsible for any money withdrawn from your accounts to pay your bills.It also protects any inheritances that you pass on to your heirs from getting taken by creditors.A good plan will help safeguard the financial security of your family.

You don't have to be wealthy to have an estate plan in place. Everyone has an estate-even young children who have had family heirlooms passed down to them or have a custodial account in their name. Simply put, if you own something of value that you want to pass on to someone else upon your death, then you have something to plan for. However, if you die without one, the responsibility of handling and arranging of your assets, even the care of your children, falls into the courts hands.

Choosing an Attorney

Planning an estate should be taken seriously. While there may be a number of inexpensive Do-It-Yourself kits, those could wind up costing you and your family more in the end. That's why it's beneficial to hire an estate planning attorney, so you can avoid costly mistakes and rest assured that your estate is properly protected.

Drafting estate planning documents properly is critical; even if one word is wrong or a signature is missing, then the entire intent of the document could change. Not to mention, State laws are very strict about what is and isn't allowed in the documents; from who can and cannot serve as a personal representative to what formalities must be observed when signing a Will or Trust.

Estate planning attorneys have the legal expertise and knowledge to help establish a well-written, accurate and legitimate estate plan. They will evaluate your particular situation, and adjust the plan to best suit your needs and goals. The many facets of estate planning can make it seem quite overwhelming, but an attorney will help you through every step and make sure all legal requirements are met and all documents clearly specify what you want.

This article was written by Roger Brent Hatcher, an attorney at Smith, Gilliam, Williams & Miles, a leading Atlanta Law Firm since 1928.

Source: EzineArticles
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