An estate planning attorney can help you create documents that advise your family members on what to do should you become incapacitated or die. An estate plan can save your family a lot of money by transferring assets – in some cases, without going through the probate process.
Your estate plan contains more than your will. An estate plan prepares for asset management, transfer of assets, and dispersal of your assets. Estate planning is not only for death. You might become incapacitated because of an accident or a sudden illness – the estate planning documents ensure that someone manages your assets until you can manage them yourself. You should have an estate plan, regardless of your age, especially if you own property and/or have a family. Even if you are in your early 20s and own nothing but a vehicle and personal items and have a bank account, an estate plan is beneficial. You can also reduce some taxes if you have an estate plan with the proper type of trust. Finally, a thorough estate plan will likely need to include other documents, such as a living will, medical power of attorney, and financial power of attorney.
If you have a bank account and own assets, regardless of how valuable, you should begin estate planning. As you add more assets and start a family, you can adjust your estate plan. It is not uncommon for people to name beneficiaries for their bank accounts, in which case, these assets do not need to be included in the estate plan. However, any bank or other financial account that does not have a beneficiary or a joint owner needs to be in the estate plan. Even a vehicle and your personal items should be in the estate plan. If you die intestate – without a will – your assets must go through the probate process regardless of value. Going through the probate process eats your estate value – with the proper documents in your estate plan, you can alleviate many of the end-of-life costs that eat away the value of your estate.
Your estate plan should consist of several documents:
Some people opt to create their own estate documents, believing it will save them time or money. However, these documents have significant legal ramifications if done improperly. Additionally, if they are not executed properly, the court will deem the documents invalid. If your last will & testament does not meet the legal standards set by statutes and the court rejects it, your estate will have to go through probate – it is as if you never made a will. While it may be tempting to go the DIY route or utilize a simple online option, only an estate planning attorney can ensure proper creation, intention, and execution of your wishes. Contact an estate planning attorney to create a new estate plan or to update an estate plan that you already have in place.
An estate planning attorney is a legal professional who helps individuals and families create the documents necessary in order to protect their future. An estate planning attorney will be able to help prepare for the unexpected. It is crucial to work with an estate planning attorney and know what will happen to your family and your assets in the event of your incapacitation or death.
Wills and trusts actually serve different purposes, so one isn’t necessarily better than the other. For most people and families, it is actually best to use a combination of two, as well as some additional estate planning documents.
A will is a tool used for estate planning. A last will and testament (commonly just referred to as a will) is a document that outlines a person’s wishes for the allocation of their assets and property in the event of their death.
Anytime, really. Every adult needs to have parameters in place as to who can make decisions should they not be able to. In fact, once a person turns 18, there are considerable changes as to who can access what personal information and decision-making. It’s a good idea to have a POA done for anyone 18 years of age and up since, by then, parents/guardians will no longer have access to nor decision-making power regarding finances, healthcare, and some educational records access.