What You Need to Know About Estate Planning Law

by LegalFix
Posted: May 9, 2023
Wills, trusts, and estates

While talking about your death is generally an uncomfortable topic, death is an inevitable part of life. Regardless of your existential or religious beliefs, what happens to your property is a practical matter that needs to be handled in accordance with estate planning law. 

What Is Estate Planning Law? 

Contrary to what you may think, creating a plan for your belongings takes more than simply writing a list of people you want to leave things to. Legal estate planning involves working with a legal professional to create a comprehensive plan for all aspects of your estate upon your passing. Your lawyer, accountant, financial advisor, and life insurance provider may all be included in these discussions, depending on your needs. 

Using information from the aforementioned areas as well as your personal preferences and family situation, you or your attorney can then write up any legally binding documents needed to dictate the handling of your assets in accordance with estate planning law. 

A “last will and testament” is generally the most important of these documents. During this process, you also have the ability to appoint an executor, who will be responsible for ensuring that the instructions in your will are carried out fully and correctly. 

When to Start Planning Your Estate

Creating a will becomes important as soon as you reach legal adulthood. Virtually everyone has at least some form of legal possessions, as well as tax responsibilities and debts. Even if you don’t have a spouse and children, having an estate plan in place ensures that all of your legal matters can be settled in a way that you feel comfortable with. 

Interestingly enough, many millennials and members of Gen Z have begun to take notice of estate planning law. In fact, a survey from earlier this year found that younger Americans are 63% more likely to have an estate plan today than they were only three years ago. 

What Happens if You Don’t Have an Up-to-Date Will?

Despite the rise in interest we mentioned above, nearly two-thirds of Americans still don’t have any valid estate planning documents. Because of this, estate planning law does have provisions for dividing assets and liabilities from people without a will. 

If you die “intestate,” your state’s laws (statutes) will generally determine what happens to your property. Intestacy laws vary from state to state, but generally, the law attempts to divide your assets in a way the average person is assumed to want. These efforts are genuine, but each person is different, and allowing this to happen often results in decisions being made that are contrary to what the deceased might have actually wanted. 

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