While nobody wants to think about their own death, planning for the end
of your life is crucial to ensuring that your family and estate are taken
care of at the time of your passing. A common source of confusion, however,
is regarding the difference between a will and an estate plan. Which one
do I need? Do I need both? Luckily, we have the answers.
What is a Will?
While a majority of people know that a will is something they should have,
many are unaware of what a will actually is. Simply put, a will is a legally
prepared document that states your final wishes and details how you would
like your assets to be distributed at the time of your death. Upon your
passing, your will is read by a county court and administered by an executor.
This can help ensure that your final arrangements are carried out smoothly,
minimizing tension between your inheritors.
A will can provide instructions regarding:
- Care for minor children and pets
- Distribution of property
- Payment of debts and taxes
- Naming an executor
While a will can serve many purposes, it is not a catch-all method of making
your arrangements. Wills can be challenged in court, and there are several
things that cannot be covered within their terms. In order to ensure that
all arrangements are made, an estate plan is needed.
What is an Estate Plan?
Wills are only a small part of the much broader concept of estate planning.
Estate plans are compilations of legal documents including wills, living
trusts, and end-of-life planning instructions. These cover much more areas
of concern than a will can.
With an estate plan, you can:
- Provide instructions for your care in the event of illness or disability
- Name guardians for your children
- Include life insurance for your family
- Arrange the transfer of your business upon your death
- Allow for your family to avoid probate court
An estate plan is an ongoing process that should be collaborated upon with
an experienced lawyer. While many think that estate plans are only for
“old people,” the truth is that estate plans are relevant
to all, regardless of age. Unfortunately, many people fail to plan for
their futures, leaving their families to pick up the pieces that they
left once they are gone. In these cases, the state usually takes over,
implementing a predetermined plan that is much less desirable than a self-determined one.
Plan for the Future Today – Call (417) 658-4172
For more than 20 years, the attorneys at Worsham Law Firm have served the
residents of Springfield, Missouri with compassionate and wise
estate planning services. If you are in need of legal assistance with planning for your
future, our legal professionals would be happy to sit down with you and
discuss your options.
Contact our office or
request a free case evaluation today to get started towards peace of mind.