The last thing you want to worry about is what will happen to your family and estate when you pass. Maybe you have been concerned about this idea for a while or maybe it is a passing thought you have never considered deeply. Regardless of how many assets you possess, small or large, an estate plan can give you peace of mind this holiday season. If you are looking for a lawyer to consult with about estate planning, here are a few things you should know.
What Can An Estate Plan Do For You?
Proverbs 13:22 says, “A good man leaves an inheritance to his children’s children.” (NKJV)
The most significant gift an estate plan can give you and your family is peace. After you pass, there will be no confusion about who receives your assets or what your final wishes are. Your loved ones will stay out of financial distress since you planned out inheritances or designated trusts. If you keep your estate plan updated regularly, your assets will not go to those who you do not want to receive them.
Without an estate plan, your assets are subject to pass according to the laws of intestacy. If you want to be in control of how your assets are distributed, it is important to discuss your options with an estate planning attorney.
Litigation and discord are financially draining to an estate and detrimental to the welfare of families. No one wants to leave their family in disarray due to poor planning or failure to plan.
What Comes with Your Plan?
There are several essential components to an estate plan. Depending on how your needs change or how your relationships evolve, you may decide to update them later on. If you get married or divorced, for instance, you will likely need to make revisions. Regardless of what stage of life you are at, here are just a few cornerstones of a comprehensive estate plan.
#1: Formal Will
Your will is largely responsible for ensuring your preferred asset distribution. You get to name who will receive your money and belongings as well as how much they will get. You also get to appoint an executor who will ensure your belongings are distributed the way you wanted them to be. Additionally, you can name the guardians of any minor children.
Similar to a will, trusts designate who will manage your money, property, and belongings. However, they differ in that you are in charge of your living trust when you are alive. If you only include a will in your estate plan, your family will need to go to probate court to follow the plans laid out. Trusts do not require such obstacles — they are effective immediately. There are also trusts known as testamentary trusts that can be established within your will and funded upon your death.
#3: Power of Attorney
Designating someone as your power of attorney means they can make decisions for you if you are incapacitated. Financial and healthcare powers of attorney will make all choices for you concerning finances or medical decisions. We help you ensure that you appoint trusted individuals who know precisely what your wishes are.
#4: End-of-Life Planning
There may come a time when you need additional care after an accident or illness. Your condition may require you to live out the rest of your life in an assisted living facility, nursing home, or hospice care. Your estate plan is where you lay out those end-of-life wishes and the funds to pay for any facilities you choose to go to.
Ready to Form an Estate Plan?
Get the benefit and expertise of an attorney seasoned in estate planning. Schedule a consultation at the Law Office of Whitney L. Thompson, PLLC, today.