How Estate Planning Will Help You While You Are Alive
Most people use estate planning to plan what will happen to their estates if they die, which is a good way of taking care of your loved ones. However, estate planning benefits aren't restricted to your post-demise period. Besides the peace of mind it gives you, there are other benefits you will realize while you are still alive. Here are three examples of such benefits:
Maintaining Control of Your Business
As the owner of a thriving business, you understand the need to stay in control at all times if you have to meet your business goals. However, misfortune can strike at any time and render you incapable of managing your business. For example, you can fall ill or even go into a coma. If that happens, who do you want to take over the business, any of your loved ones or a carefully chosen person who understands your business style and acumen?
Without estate planning, you may not have a say in the issue. Your loved ones, who might be well-meaning but incompetent, can go to court to take over the management of your business. Estate planning allows you to craft a durable power attorney, which is a document that allows someone to make decisions on your behalf. Just make sure this chosen person is competent and understands your wishes, and it will almost be like you are still managing the business even if you are incapacitated.
Staying In Control of Your Health
Who would you want to be in control of your health if you are unable to make such a decision? That person you just thought of may not have the right to do so if you don't give them that right when you are still able to. By crafting a medical power of attorney, you get to choose someone (known as a health agent or attorney-in-fact) who will make these decisions for you if you become unable to communicate your health wishes. You can also craft a living will, which sets out the health-related directives (the types of treatments you would want and the ones you wouldn't want) to be followed in case you become unable to communicate them.
Distributing Your Assets While You Are Still Alive
Lastly, you can also use estate planning to distribute your assets to your loved ones while you are still alive. Usually, your loved ones only get to inherit your properties after your demise. However, estate planning allows you to distribute your assets while still alive if you wish to see your loved ones enjoy the fruits of your hard work or just make their life more comfortable. There are several ways through which you can do this. For example, you can give your kids cash gifts, of which the first $14,000 will be tax-free (as of 2016), or you can set up an irrevocable trust and give your kids "allowances" from the trust every year.
These are just three examples of estate planning benefits you can enjoy while you are still alive. Talk to an estate planning attorney from a firm like Seiler & Parker PC for more achievements you can realize with estate planning.