Families should be honored with the gift of an estate plan -- By: Stella Knight

You don’t have to wait until Christmas or a birthday
to give a gift to the people you love. This month, we
will celebrate Veterans’ Day. We honor our veterans
– those who fight to protect our country and freedom.
Many veterans are characterized as courageous, adventurous,
and responsible. The men and women who
serve in our military know that they are risking their lives
for their country. There is always the possibility that they
may not return home to their friends and family. Early in
their careers, servicemen and women often recognize
that few decisions in life are as distasteful, yet as important,
as planning for its end.
Today, there are many things clamoring for our time
and attention. Estate planning is not always a top priority.
However, those who do such planning save their
heirs much anguish, frustration, and often a great deal of
money. Whether you are single, married, with or without
children, a veteran or not, everyone should have an
estate plan.
While the issues confronting each person vary due to
their unique situation, it is important you realize that as
your life changes, your estate plan needs to change too.
Maybe you are a married couple with children under the
age of 18. Your major assets consist of a home, life insurance
policy and two cars. A will is a legal instrument
that allows a person to dispose of his property at his
death. In addition to providing for your surviving spouse,
a will may recommend guardians for minor children and
set up trusts for them in case of the simultaneous deaths
of both parents. But what if your will was written 10
years ago when you lived in New York? Have your children
grown and married since your last will was written?
Has your spouse recently died? Are you considering
a second marriage? A single or widowed person has
different estate planning goals then he or she did just a
few years ago. Perhaps you want to give gifts to your
grandchildren, charities, or plan for the management of
your assets should you become disabled or incapacitated.
Estate planning goals for you may utilize a will
and/or revocable trust.
Planning to distribute your assets doesn’t have to be a
complicated and confusing ritual. It is much more confusing
for the parties who remain when you do not take
care of these things in your lifetime.
Would you ever allow the State of North Carolina to
dictate what gift you had to give people for their birthday
or Christmas? If not, why would you allow the State
of North Carolina to distribute your assets if you were
suddenly taken from this Earth? Do you really want a
judge to settle a dispute between embattled in-laws as to
who will raise your children should there be a common
disaster?
This Veterans’ Day, honor our veterans and honor your
family. Give your family the gift of an estate plan.
For suggestions on how to get started with creating an
estate plan, visit my website at www.stellaknightlaw.com.
Stella Knight is a Perquimans County attorney licensed
in North Carolina and Florida, with a major area of her
law practice emphasizing estate planning, probate,
trusts, wealth preservation and elder law. The information
contained in this article is of a general nature and
does not constitute legal advice. If you have questions,
consult with a qualified attorney.
Families should be honored with the gift of an estate plan -- By: Stella Knight Families should be honored with the gift of an estate plan  -- By: Stella Knight Reviewed by kensunm on 4:43:00 PM Rating: 5

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