Why an Estate Plan is Important for Every Family

In spite of what you may hear about estate plans, they are not only reserved for the rich and powerful. Every family can benefit from organizing an estate plan prior to deployment, regardless of wealth. Estate plans don’t only deal with your property, but with the care of your children, your financial and personal assets and your own caretaking wishes. It solidifies your wishes and makes them known so there are not any misunderstandings later.

To establish an estate plan, you need to make several different choices, the first of which is to name guardians for your children. You also need to ensure that the people you name to carry out your wishes have your best interests at heart and will act accordingly. You should name your estate executor in your will, which is the foundation of your estate plan. Your will outlines who receives your property when you pass away and must pass through several stages of processing before it is valid. Since this may take a few months, it is best to do this far in advance of your deployment.

A trust can help expedite the process of validating a will. A trust helps ensure your wishes are carried out after your death. Anything that is not mentioned within a trust, including assets, may require extra legal fees, court costs and other problems. There are two different kinds of trusts, a testamentary trust and a living trust.

A testamentary trust is part of a will and is effective after you die. A living trust is activated while you are still alive and can be either revocable or irrevocable. Choosing a trustee can be a challenging task and it is not a decision to be taken lightly. You may not wish to simply name your spouse as your trustee. Financial affairs are complicated and should be handled by a professional. You can also assign co-trustees, or two people who

will jointly execute your wishes and share responsibility and authority.

It is important to feel secure knowing that the people you’ve appointed to handle your affairs will do so appropriately. Take time to assign these roles and go over each position with the person(s) in thorough detail. The last thing you want on your mind before you leave for deployment is a feeling of unease or not knowing if your affairs will be correctly managed if something were to happen.

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