Estate Planning 101

Have you ever wondered just what Estate Planning really is? The term “estate” can be deceiving. It doesn’t necessarily mean a large sprawling homestead. In fact, in the eyes of the law, an “estate” is simply all the property you own, both outright and jointly—including bank accounts, real estate, stocks and bonds, vehicles, jewelry, retirement accounts and even pets. So, if you have a pet, you have an estate. If you have belongings, you have an estate. But the most important question still remains: Do you have a plan to protect your estate?

Estate planning is a process in which someone specifies how their money, property and medical care should be managed during life and/or after their death. It simply involves drawing up and finalizing one or more documents that gives a legal voice to someone’s wishes. At a minimum, every adult should have an advanced healthcare directive and will as their estate plan. An advanced healthcare directive allows you to instruct healthcare providers about medical treatments if you’re no longer able to express them yourself—and it also names someone to oversee your care.

A Will is the most basic estate planning document there is—and for some people, it represents the only estate plan they need. A will can be used to dictate several different things, including how to divide up property, guardianship, debts, and more. In many situations, such as family disputes, a Trust is necessary to minimize or eliminate court involvement. Many other options are available for even more protection like, Irrevocable Trusts and LLCs.

Estate Planning is not only for the rich and doesn’t have to be expensive. There are many types of documents or protection plans that suit every lifestyle and budget. There is no amount of wealth or assets that determines who gets to have an estate plan. An estate plan is a right for everyone, especially your loved ones. It helps remove any burdens on decision making for them. Here’s the good news: estate planning doesn’t have to be depressing either. Focus on what matters most and how you’d like to protect those you love. Proactive conversations can actually bring your family together. It can be a bonding experience to share your wishes and legacy for the future. The sooner you get started, the better off you and your family will be. There is no better time than the present to finalize your wishes, especially before a medical crisis or a natural disaster arises.

Now more than ever, Americans are realizing estate planning is a necessity for every adult, especially during the Covid-19 pandemic. Everyone should have an estate plan in place to at least ensure their medical treatment is carried out according to their wishes. If you have a pet, you need a plan. If you are single, you need a plan. If you have a family you need a plan. If you’d like to leave a legacy to someone or something, like a charity, you need a plan.

Having a legal estate plan in place is the only way to ensure your estate is protected. You are important. Your wishes are important. Your medical treatment is important. Let’s write out those wishes and make them legally protected. We spend so much time taking care of others that we forgot to take care of own welfare and estate plans. We want to make your wishes a priority again. Tell us more about your story. What goals are important? What keeps you up at night? We would love to help you create a plan that works for your budget, lifestyle, and legacy.

Wondering what type of legal document is right for you? Let’s go over some of the most popular options and figure out how we can give you the most protection, you truly need. Begin thinking about the type of protection that makes sense, and who or what you’d like to direct things towards. At Wiles Law, we don’t believe in a “one size fits all” plan. We will strategize and customize your estate plan to exactly what fits your wishes and protection needs.

Minimum Coverage Examples:

  • Durable or Healthcare Power of Attorney
  • Advance Healthcare Directives or Living Will
  • Last Will & Testament

Well Rounded Coverage Examples:

  • Revocable Trust

Maximum Coverage Examples:

  • LLC
  • Irrevocable Trusts

Wondering what steps are needed next? Check out our infographic below to learn about the 4 easy steps to estate planning.