You are likely aware that creating a comprehensive estate plan is important. What should be included in your estate plan though? One reason so many Americans lack a workable, complete estate plan is because they simply don’t know what all should be included in an estate plan. While a Last Will and Testament provides the foundation for your estate plan, a well thought out estate plan typically includes much more than just a Will. Your estate plan should reflect your own personal needs, goals, and concerns and should be created after extensive consultation with an experienced Missouri estate planning attorney. Some common components of a thorough estate plan, however, include:
Incapacity planning – your Will only becomes applicable upon your death. Therefore, you also need to plan for the possibility of your incapacity.
Retirement planning – knowing how much you need during your golden years to live comfortably should be a consideration when estate planning. In fact, your estate planning attorney and your financial advisor should work together when creating your estate plan.
Business succession planning – if you own a business you need to plan for the possibility of your death or incapacity. Who will take over? How will your financial interests be protected?
Medicaid planning – if you need long-term care in the future you will likely need Medicaid benefits to help cover the costs. To avoid losing all your hard earned assets when the time comes you need to protect them now using Medicaid planning strategies.
Asset protection – whether this includes protecting assets from creditors or from beneficiaries it should be done now before those assets are in jeopardy.
Tax avoidance – gift and estate taxes can cause your estate value to diminish by half without careful planning.
Probate avoidance – probating even a relatively modest estate can take months. The larger, more complex, the estate the longer probate can take. Time is money as well, giving you even more reason to include probate avoidance strategies in your overall estate plan.
Because your estate plan should be as unique as you are, it is best to consult with your Missouri estate planning attorney to determine which of these common components fit into your estate plan.