There are plenty of online sites offering do-it-yourself wills. Yet, estate planning is not as simple as they make it sound.
Creating an estate plan involves much more than saying who you want to leave things to. A comprehensive estate plan covers a range of things, which a generic online form cannot.
Estate planning is about finding the most tax-efficient way to transfer assets
Sometimes it makes sense to start transferring assets to your family while you are alive. Doing this can take advantage of tax allowances. You can also use trusts and other estate planning tools to minimize the tax paid on assets you leave.
Estate planning is about providing for a comfortable retirement
With people living longer than ever, having adequate funds for retirement is ever more crucial. Where you keep these funds and how and when you access them will affect their tax liability.
Estate planning is about preparing for the possibility of ill health
First, you should consider advanced directives to state what treatment you want if severely ill or give someone the power to decide for you.
Second, you need to consider what will happen if you need to use Medicaid services in later life. Medicaid will look for ways to charge you for it. If you have assets above a specific, not very generous limit, they will take them. If you pass assets onto your family, they may also come after them. You need to find ways to protect what you own while ensuring you get the healthcare you need.
The laws that affect estate planning change frequently. Getting up-to-date information is crucial to protecting you and your family’s future.