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Estate Planning

Why plan your estate?

What will happen to your property – your house, your land, your investments, and your belongings – after you die? Will it go to the people and causes you love the most, or will it be distributed under a statutory scheme, without your wishes being made known?

The knowledge that we will eventually die is one of the things that seems to distinguish humans from other living beings. At the same time, no one likes to dwell on the prospect of his or her own death. But, if you postpone planning until it’s too late, you run the risk that those you love the most, whether due to extra administration costs, unnecessary taxes or squabbling, may not receive what you would want them to upon your death.

No matter how small your estate may be, having an estate plan allows you, while you are still living, to ensure that your property will go to the people you want, in the way you want, when you want. It permits you to save as much as possible on taxes, court costs and attorneys’ fees; and it affords the comfort that your loved ones can mourn your loss without being simultaneously burdened with unnecessary red tape and financial confusion.

The IRS defines your estate as everything you own, including your house, land, car, insurance, bank accounts, IRAs, and/or stocks and bonds. From the simple will to the revocable living trust, estate planning lays the legal foundation for the passing of your assets, and the method and timing of their distribution. Because estate planning is subject to changing state and federal laws, it makes sense to seek help from a knowledgeable legal professional.

What do I need?

All estate plans should include, at minimum, three important estate planning instruments:

  • Your will
  • Power of attorney
  • Living will (medical directive)
  • Your will is for the management and distribution of your property after your death. In addition, more and more, Americans also are using revocable (or “living”) trusts to avoid probate and to manage their estates both during their lives and after they’re gone.

    Your power of attorney is for managing your property during your life, in case you are ever unable to do so yourself.

    Your living will directs the medical treatment you are to receive in the event that you are unable to participate in your own medical decisions and you are in a terminal condition.

    Planning and preparing the proper documentation to safeguard you and your family’s future requires experience, expertise and a thorough understanding of estate planning tools and strategies. We believe we have the ability to provide clients with the tools necessary to make informed, objective decisions. Contact Gass Law at (605) 692-4277 or fill out our contact form.

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