While a “personal estate” sounds pretty lofty, it’s really just a fancier way of saying “personal property” – in this sense, everyone has a personal estate of some kind.
Estate planning is the process by which you can arrange for what happens to your personal estate – via legally binding written instructions – if you become too disabled to work or finally reach that inevitable stage of human life: death.
Personal estate planning isn’t something that you should consider doing when you’ve reached old age; it ought to be a long-term process of creating a dynamic plan that is continuously adapting to changing circumstances in your life as well as changes in law.
The estate attorneys at MZJ – specifically Blake M. Murray and Alan F. Johnston – can help you establish an estate plan that will ensure your estate is distributed to the desired parties – individuals, organizations, or both – while limiting interference from the state.
Contact us for your estate attorney needs.
What Constitutes A Personal Estate?
No matter its size or scope, you have a personal estate of some kind. Some obvious examples would be your:
- Savings & checking accounts
- Any personal possessions – furniture, art, electronics, etc.
- Life insurance
- Investments of any kind
Some not-so-obvious examples would include:
- Religious beliefs
- Philosophical beliefs
- Political beliefs
- Work ethic
- Techniques and skill sets
That’s right, your values themselves can be included in your personal estate as a means of passing on your legacy. How does this work, you might be asking? One example would be that a certain amount of money is transferred to a grandson or nephew only on the condition that he completes a course on personal financial planning.
All of this can be achieved with the help of an estate law attorney.
What’s Involved In Personal Estate Planning?
For estate planning to be most effective, it should be a decades long process. This is because your personal estate plan should evolve over time to reflect ongoing financial, familial, and legal situations.
When it comes to the law, you want to ensure that you’re not only in compliance with it, but also using it to your full advantage so that your loved ones and the organizations you value can benefit most from the estate you leave behind. This is why an estate law attorney is so beneficial when it comes to this project – he or she will know all of the ins and outs and esoteric legal language that the layman simply doesn’t have the time or patience to familiarize themselves with.
Your estate law attorney can help ensure that at the time of disability or death, your assets, business, and values are transferred to the appropriate person or party. Life insurance is another factor that can greatly benefit your family.
A family member with disabilities may need care, a minor child may require a guardian, someone may be in need of education (religious or otherwise); all of this can be achieved via your personal estate plan, and an estate law attorney can help you construct a plan that can not only give them these benefits, but do so in a way that doesn’t conflict with or disrupt any current government benefits they may have.
While it’s natural to want all of your loved ones to get everything they need from your estate once you’ve passed on, limited assets and resources can simply make this impossible. There is a level of discrimination you need to have when it comes to the transfer of your estate; you want to make wise decisions, ensuring that specific assets go to the individuals who need and will benefit from them the most. All of this should be planned with great care and insight into each family member’s needs; you want your estate to provide the most lasting value to those you love. Assets should be distributed according to individual needs, merit, competence, and so on.
You can work with an estate law attorney and cover all of your bases in terms of asset transfer; they can help you make sure your estate goes to the appropriate parties in a way that offers them maximum benefits while limiting state interference and/or ensuring that existing benefits they have are not disrupted.
What Happens If I Don’t Have A Personal Estate Plan?
If you think about what would happen to your personal estate without a legally binding plan in place, it probably conjures up images of chaos and emotional family in-fighting. That’s definitely one thing you can expect to happen, but it gets worse.
Without a legally binding plan in place, the government descends upon your estate to take what it can – usually in the form of excessive taxation. What’s more, the fate of your assets can end up entirely in the hands of the probate laws of your state. The inheritance of minor children could end up being determined by the court and family members could miss out on much-needed finances.
The estate law attorneys at MZJ can help ensure that none of this happens.
Who Needs Estate Planning?
Anyone can benefit from estate planning, as everyone has a personal estate no matter its size or scope; it’s not just for the old or the rich. It’s always a wise decision to have your estate plan in order and up-to-date with the latest circumstances in both your personal life and the law, all under the guidance of an experienced estate law attorney.
It’s all-too common for people to seek personal estate planning once they’ve reached retirement age, but this needs to change. We don’t know what the future holds – you may be a perfectly healthy individual in their 30s, but serious disability and death can happen to anyone at any time.
As a matter of fact, those with limited assets and income can often benefit just as much, if not more, from a sound estate plan. The reason for this is that these individuals typically have loved ones that can’t afford major financial losses and have limited income themselves.
MZJ – Estate Law Attorneys You Can Rely On
MZJ’s attorneys have decades of combined experience in establishing estate plans on an on-going basis, helping people ensure their personal estate is passed on to the appropriate parties while limiting interference from the state.
We work with you, the client, in mind. Get in touch with us today! Simply give us a call or fill out the form below. We look forward to working with you.