Knowing that your final wishes will be respected can be a relieving feeling. If peace of mind is something you’re seeking, a comprehensive estate plan may be the answer. The right end-of-life planning could ensure that your assets will be distributed in a manner that you see fit, by the people you trust the most to carry out your wishes.
However, the process of building an estate plan can be lengthy and complex without the proper guidance. To ensure that all of your wishes are met, seek the advice of an experienced estate planning attorney. A legal professional could answer any questions you may have about the estate planning process in Raleigh.
Ultimately, the point of an estate plan is to provide for your loved ones after you are gone. This could include any surviving children or dependents, both minor and adult, and an effective estate plan should take their individual needs into account.
Often, a dedicated attorney will ask a person to consider how they wish to provide financially for their dependents in Raleigh. Legal guidance may also help with laying out important arrangements for the care of any minor children, such as identifying potential guardians.
Discussing one’s goals is a critical first step in end-of-life planning because it impacts every other aspect moving forward. In identifying specific needs, it is important to work with an attentive lawyer who has experience in the Raleigh estate planning process.
After determining an individual’s goals, the next step is to identify the assets of the estate. This process should include compiling both the person’s assets and their debts and liabilities. By putting these assets and liabilities down on paper, a skilled lawyer could facilitate the discussion on what to do with the estate after a person’s death. A comprehensive list of assets can help ensure that nothing is left out of the estate planning process.
A beneficiary is a person that is due to receive some or all of a person’s estate upon their death. Someone in the process of planning their estate could name a single beneficiary or multiple. Often, beneficiaries are immediate family members like spouses, parents, or children. However, these plans could also include friends or even non-profit entities as beneficiaries. In this step of the estate planning process, a Raleigh resident could also discuss with their legal advisor about which beneficiary will receive what asset.
Although deciding one’s final wishes is a central part of planning an estate, the process also requires formal documentation, usually through wills and living trusts. These documents meet some of the same needs but function in different ways, which a knowledgeable attorney could further explain.
A last will and testament is a formal document that sets out the final wishes of its creator, known as the testator. It also identifies an executor, or the person that can carry out the testator’s will after their death. Administering a will usually involves probate court and can be a lengthy process.
On the other hand, a living trust is different from a will in that it avoids the probate process entirely. There are several different forms of trusts, but these documents generally allow a person to continue benefitting from their assets until their death.
In the estate planning process, guidance from a well-practiced lawyer is crucial. Once retained, your attorney could help identify assets, select beneficiaries, and execute the documentation needed to make your estate plan a reality.
If you have questions about the estate planning process in Raleigh, let our legal team explain your options. Call today for an initial strategy meeting.