Everyone should have an estate plan in place, and many people neglect this crucial aspect of future planning. What exactly is estate planning and why is it so important? We will explore the basics of estate planning and why you should use a trusted law firm to help ensure your estate plan will transfer your assets to your loved ones when you are gone.

What is an Estate Plan?

An estate plan dictates what you want to happen to your property and assets when you are gone, and can also put in place a plan for the care of any children that are still minors. Your estate plan can also spell out what will happen to your own care if you become incapacitated. An estate plan puts into writing what you wish to happen in the future, and can be extremely useful for your family members to know your wishes. A well-crafted estate plan also can help eliminate legal issues and paperwork associated with your assets.

What is an Estate?

Your estate is everything that you own at the time of your death. This could include your cash money, stocks, life insurance policies, cars, jewelry, houses and other real estate, and more. Anything that you own that is of value to you or your family can be included in your estate plan. Think of all of your assets and what could happen to them if you die with no clear plan in place. Even if you know who you would like to receive your property, you must have it in the proper documents to be legally binding.

Who Needs an Estate Plan?

Everyone. Your estate plan may be relatively simple if you are young and don’t yet have children, or could be quite complex if you own multiple homes, businesses and investments. You should definitely have designations for medical decisions and powers of attorney. And if you have minor children, you will want to name a guardian. Trusts can be used to manage wealth you will be gifting to loved ones, and this can help with taxation, and management of your finances. Having a plan will ensure a smooth transfer of your assets, and result in less stress for your recipients.

What Happens Without a Plan?

So what exactly will happen if you don’t have an estate plan? One major downfall is that your estate can be eaten up by taxation, and your estate may have to go through probate. Probate is a long and costly process that can result in your loved ones not receiving as much as you intend, and causing them stress. If you have no plan, the province you are in will determine how your assets are distributed, and that might not be in the same way you intended. You also want to ensure that your children are cared for, and by the caring people that you have chosen and designated. Many people think that somehow everything will just “work out” when it comes to estate planning, but in reality only a legal document that spells out your plan will ensure that your intended wishes come to pass.

Why Do You Need a Lawyer?

When it comes to estate planning, you want it done right the first time. That is why using a trusted lawyer is crucial when you are planning for the future and needing advice and legally binding documents. A lawyer can advise you on whether putting your money into a trust would be a good option, and how to choose someone to handle your estate when you are gone. Boudreau Law is your trusted firm for legal counsel in the Winnipeg area, and we would love to help you craft an estate plan that will bring you peace of mind.