Some people will shell out money for material things but are not willing to spend for estate planning.
Your death will devastate your loved ones, but it will be tougher on them if you didn’t make plans in the event of your death. With the help of an estate planning attorney, you can create an estate plan that ensures your family is cared for even after your death.
The best time to create an estate plan is now. So long as you have assets and properties and children who rely on you, this is an investment you should be making.
Estate Planning Law is complicated. You are going to need an expert, and that means an estate planning lawyer.
To give you an idea, here are some of the key steps to estate planning:
Draw Up A Will
Your will tells everyone who you want to inherit your assets. It is how you make sure that you loved ones are the rightful heirs to your property.
It’s best to name an executor in your will, the one whom you trust can carry out the responsibility to settle your debts and distribute what remains of your estate according to your wishes.
Without a will, your property will pass to your next of kin – your wife and your children – which is all well and good. But if you are unmarried, your assets will go to your relatives. Those relatives whom you haven’t spoken to in years? You get the picture.
Surprisingly, only 43 percent of adults in the U.S. have a will.
Pick Your Beneficiaries
In creating your will, you have to think of the following:
- Who should inherit your assets?
- Who do you want to execute your will?
- If applicable, who are the designated guardians for your children?
- Who do you want to settle financial matters on your behalf?
- Who do you want to make medical decisions on your behalf?
Talk With Your Heirs/Beneficiaries
Let your heirs know of your plans and their assignations and the items they will inherit to give them an idea. You should be clear on all the about inheritance details so there won’t be any disagreements afterward.
You can also talk to them about the type of funeral arrangements that you desire. Whatever you ask for, your loved ones will most likely respect your wishes.
Assign A Power of Attorney
Estate planning also helps take care of things when you are too sick to make your decisions. It’s not only about your heirs, but it’s also about you.
Assigning a power of attorney to manage your money or make medical decisions on your behalfs, such as a relative or a friend is something you should discuss with a lawyer.
A durable power of attorney or a DPA takes effect the moment you are unable to manage your financial and medical affairs.
Without doing this, a judge will have to assign a relative to manage your affairs for you.
Assign A Health Care Directive
This directive will keep your wishes regarding the type of medical care you receive when near death. Assigning a power of attorney for health care means you have someone who understands the critical medical information regarding your treatment; someone who knows the medical treatment options that you do not want and keeps your best interests and wishes in mind when making the most critical health-care decisions.
You need an attorney to help you prepare a HIPAA release form, without which, it prevents healthcare personnel from releasing your medical records to your health care proxy.
Organize Your Files
You have to organize and properly store all the documents your executor will need to carry out your wishes.
Deeds, insurance policies, bank statement, pension, a list of assets, contact details of your legal and financial advisers, your accounts and passwords, and an inventory of the items in your safe-deposit box.
Store them in a safe that is waterproof and fireproof.
Review Your Will At Least Once a Year
Review your will about once every year, don’t lose track especially after the birth of a child or divorce or some major purchase.
It should be up-to-date and by your will.
Create a Living Trust
An estate planning lawyer can help you create a living trust – one that is immune to the probate process. This way, your loved ones do not have to endure the lengthy and time-consuming probate court process.
If you have minor-aged children, your living trust indicates to whom your children should be entrusted, without it, a judge will be making this all too important decision.
The problem with creating your living trust is there are so many things that could go wrong concerning wills and trusts that a layperson could not anticipate.
An estate planning lawyer’s guidance is invaluable. Through his or her knowledge of the Estate Planning Law, you can make sure you don’t make costly mistakes and clerical errors. What you save in legal fees might end up costing your family more in the future.
Call an Estate Planning Lawyer now to help you draw up your will and plan your estate distribution.