The Advantages of Estate Planning
A person’s mental capacity is often the cause of dispute in litigations involving a Will, a Trust and an Estate Plan. This is why having a doctor or a psychologist evaluate a testator’s mental capacity prior to him/her drafting his/her Will is quite necessary. A psychologist’s or a doctor’s expert opinion on the lucidity of the testator’s mind would be enough to quash any claim that he/she may not have fully known or understood the importance of the Will being drafted.
So many Americans see estate planning as a concern only of the wealthy, whose properties are worth millions in cash. The fact, however, is that anyone who has something that is considered valuable (or with value) can sit down and draft a Will.
Estate planning basically begins with the drafting of a Will. The testator (or the individual writing the Will) can put in this Will everything that he/she intends to pass on to his/her spouse and children. The Will specifically states which asset or thing of value (or how much cash) should go to the spouse and the children; it can also require an heir to first accomplish something – a condition for him/her to earn his/her inheritance.
A more elaborate Will can include the testator’s chosen:
- Guardian for his/her children (if they are still minor)
- Health-care proxy or the person who will make medical decisions on his/her behalf if he/she gets incapacitated
- Executor or the person who will take charge in the administration of the estate left for distribution to the heirs. The executor should also accomplish the testator’s last wishes specified in the will, and settle all the unpaid debts of the testator’s (after all debts have been paid, only then can the assets, or what remains of these, can be distributed to the heirs).
On its website, the law firm Peck Ritchey, LLC, explains that estate planning will help the testator dispose his/her properties and assets in ways that will maximize their value through the reduction of taxes and other expenses, as well as eliminate doubts on the administration of a probate – benefits that will prove advantageous for his/her loved ones. Thus, rather than leaving one’s family members disputing against each other over issues of inheritance, an estate plan can speak the very mind of the testator and even prevent what could end up as rivalry among his/her spouse and children.