Estate planning doesn’t solely refer to rich men’s mansions or properties. Estate refers to the overall assets of a person, including cash, cars, real estate, and other investments. If you want your assets to go to your inheritors without any problem, you need an estate plan.
Here are some of the top reasons homeowners should have an estate plan:
1. Create Trusts
Your home isn’t the only one that estate plans protect, it also includes your other properties. For example, if you own a gun collection for investment, self-defense, or sports purposes, the estate plan should include gun trusts. This is especially important if your firearms collection is part of your family heirloom.
Since passing firearms and accessories have strict requirements such as a federal tax stamp and your local Chief Law Enforcement Officer’s (CLEO) approval, a gun trust will ensure that all transfers are compliant with the law. Here’s what a gun trust can do:
- During Your Lifetime: A gun trust allows you to have ownership and control of your gun collection. It means you’re the trustee and beneficiary.
- Disposition: Upon your death, the gun trust provides a proper distribution of your firearms and accessories to the stated beneficiaries. The gun trust helps expedite the passing of these firearms according to the law. This protects your beneficiaries or trustees and ensures they won’t commit violations under the National Firearms Act.
2. Divide Your Assets
Aside from your gun or other valuable personal property, you may have other properties like vacation homes, family homes, or real estate investment. Everything you own will be part of your estate, which your family will inherit with proper estate planning.
Without an estate plan, the court will be the one to decide where all your possessions and assets will go. For some families, court decisions aren’t easy because it can take years and, worse, turn ugly. It can even mess up family relationships. With an estate plan, you can divide your assets according to your preference. There’s no need for the court to decide and assign who gets your assets upon your death.
3. Avoid Probate
As mentioned, you allow the court to supervise the division of your assets without an estate plan. This process refers to probate, a legal process reviewing your assets to determine who inherits them with or without your will.
Probate proceedings are public, expensive, and time-consuming. That’s why estate plans are essential to avoid this proceeding.
If you have an estate plan, you can save months of aggravation and wait for the decision of the probate. Your family won’t also need to spend on appraiser’s fees, attorney’s fees, and court fees used in the probate proceedings. These expenses can eat up the estate you left behind.
Most importantly, you can avoid putting your family’s estates into public records because probate proceedings are public. It means everyone, including strangers, can access these records.
Your home and other possessions belong to you and your inheritors upon your death. By having an estate plan, you can prevent the court from dividing it in probate proceedings. This process is expensive and time-consuming. Moreover, it can also create family strife, so you must have an estate plan to save your loved ones from the stress and heartache.