Signs that you need an estate plan beyond a will

The arrival of children into a family is one event that may trigger the thought of planning for the future. You may feel concern for their well-being if anything should happen to you, and this may prompt you to look into options such as writing a will or even creating a more elaborate estate plan.

Your question may be whether such a plan is necessary. What are the circumstances in which your estate would require trusts, powers of attorney or advance directives and those circumstances for which a simple will is sufficient? Is your plan adequate for your current situation?

How children affect your estate plan

A single person with no children may have very different needs than a married person with children, especially while the children are very young. Difficult as it may be to consider, there is always the potential that tragedy will strike leaving your children without you to care for them and make critical decisions for their futures. Your will allows you to name a guardian for your children, but using your will to leave your assets to your minor children can be a mistake.

A trust can hold those assets for your children and provide instructions for how and when the children can have access to them. Some estate advisors recommend naming a professional as trustee, rather than choosing a friend or family member, to improve the chances that the trustee will manage and invest the assets well.

What factors dictate more intense planning?

Children are not the sole reason for creating an estate plan than includes more than a will. Some other reasons why you may find additional estate planning tools necessary include the following:

  • The value of your estate is higher than the federally allowed estate tax exclusion.
  • You want to include charitable giving in your estate plan.
  • You want to begin succession planning for your business.
  • Your blended family requires unique considerations in your estate plan.
  • You have dependents with disabilities, special needs or difficult circumstances for which you want to provide.

Your situation may also be that you have reached a point in your life where your estate planning needs have changed, and you want to review the tools you have used and gain a better understanding of the options available. For assistance with any of these goals, a Louisiana estate planning attorney can provide appropriate guidance and advice.

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