You and your spouse are a young, working 30ish couple with small children. Is it too early to consider estate planning? Estate planning may not be a priority for you right now. You are building your careers, managing childcare, providing your family with housing, education, nutrition and navigating the countless—and expensive—demands of parenting.
However, life is unpredictable. Estate planning enables you to safeguard your assets and support your dependents in the future.
What is estate planning?
Estate planning ensures the allocation of your belongings and assets if something should happen to you. You can prepare for estate planning by:
- Developing a strategy for your estate planning process
- Establishing your goals for your estate
- Listing your current assets and property
- Preparing to revise your estate plan if any life-altering events occur, such as marriage, the birth of a child or starting a new business
What is probate?
Probate is the process by which a court legally recognizes a person’s death and authorizes the distribution of the estate. The basic steps of probate are:
- A judge determines that the will is valid. If there is no will, the process may be more complicated
- Notification of appropriate people
- Identification and appraisal of the property
- Payment of creditors and taxes
- Distribution of the property by court order
- Closure of the estate
Estate and probate proceedings may create additional emotional hardship for grieving loved ones. Learning the facts can provide security for your beneficiaries and offer you and your family comfort and peace of mind.