If I Have a Will Do I Have an Estate Plan?
Estate planning and writing a will are entirely different terms. Keep in mind: a will is only a document. A plan is a thought process. That thought process – that PLAN – is only as good as the attorney that helped you draft the plan according to your wishes. Wills are cheap. You can get one from legalzoom.com or a host of other outlets. Many of these cheap wills are not effective under Louisiana law.
I can’t tell you how many times I have heard, “I need a will.” What makes you think you need a will? What will it say? You may want to leave everything to your spouse. Do you know the future implcations of leaving everything to your spouse? Did you know that with a will, what you leave to your spouse may be subject to seizure, but with a proper plan drafted by a good estate planning attorney you can leave everything to your spouse but also protect those assets. It’s a secret closely guarded by many Louisiana estate planning attorneys, and the genereral practitioner that handled your divorce may not know anything about this secret.
An estate plan is a broader plan of action for your assets that may apply during your life, as well as after your death.
However, a will states the way in which your assets will go after you die.
Yahoo Finance’s recent article entitled “Estate Planning vs. Will: What’s the Difference?” explains that a will is a legal document that states the way in which you’d like your assets to be distributed after you die.
A will can also detail your wishes about how your minor children will be cared after your death, and it names an executor who’s in charge of carrying out the actions in your will. Without a will, the state’s probate laws determine how your property is divided.
Estate planning is a lot broader and more complex than writing a will. A will is a single tool. An estate plan not only involves multiple tools, such as powers of attorney, advance directives and trusts, but it also involves an overall plan to PROTECT what you want to leave to your heirs.
Again, a will is a legal document, and an estate plan is a thought process as well as a collection of legal documents. An estate plan can also handle other matters that can’t be addressed in a will.
A will is a good place to start, but you’ll want to create an estate plan to ensure that your family is fully covered in the event of your death.
While having a will is important, it’s only the first step when it comes to creating an estate plan.
To leave your heirs and loved ones in the best position after your death, you should talk to an experienced estate planning attorney about creating a comprehensive plan, so your assets can end up where you want them.
To learn more, read these articles: What Is the Main Purpose of a Trust? and What Does an Executor Do? The Executor Enforces your Will through the Court. and 8 Key Steps to Take Before Hiring a Lawyer
Reference: Yahoo Finance (Aug. 10, 2021) “Estate Planning vs. Will: What’s the Difference?”