WHY CHOOSE OUR DOUGLAS ESTATE PLANNING LAWYER?
Have you thought about who you wish to leave your assets to when you die? Have you considered what you want your end-of-life care to be like, or who should make medical decisions for you if you are incapacitated. While these are not necessarily cheerful thoughts to have, putting estate planning documents in place to prepare for the future not only provides you with a peace of mind, but your loved ones with the ability to accept your assets without an expensive legal hassle involved. A Douglas estate planning lawyer can assist you in creating a thorough and up-to-date estate plan.
WHAT IS ESTATE PLANNING?
Even if you aren’t a millionaire, you have an estate, and it consists of everything of value that you own, including your car, home and other property, business, bank and retirement accounts, and personal possessions. Estate planning is the act of putting a series of documents in place in order to designate individuals or organizations to whom you wish to leave your estate upon your death. However, a good estate plan provides even more benefits, including allowing you to leave instructions for your care and financial affairs if you should become incapacitated. A thorough estate plan also includes provisions to provide for family members with special needs without impacting the benefits they are able to obtain through government programs, and minimizes the taxes and costs associated with your beneficiaries accepting your assets.
WHEN SHOULD YOU START ESTATE PLANNING?
Unfortunately, no one knows what is going to happen in the future or when that future will begin. Individuals often delay estate planning because they think they have plenty of time to worry about it when they’re older. However, if they become incapacitated or die before putting an estate plan in place, the state will appoint a guardian to oversee your care and divide your assets according to intestacy laws, often through a probate hearing, without consideration to what your desires for your assets and your end-of-life care.
THE MOST IMPORTANT DOCUMENTS FOR YOUR ESTATE PLAN
A last will and testament is generally the first document generated in an estate plan and one of the most important, as it names an executor to oversee the distribution of your estate. This document also provides instructions on how you would like to have the assets divided and names the individual you want to care for your minor children in the event of your death. Other important documents include:
- A durable power of attorney: This document designates an individual who you want to make financial decisions on your behalf if you are incapacitated.
- An advance medical directive: This document appoints a healthcare agent and creates a living will that will help guide the medical decisions your family members and health care providers make on your behalf, including how and when to proceed with medical treatment.
- A revocable living trust: This allows you to place your assets into a trust to be distributed upon your death without the need for probate.
It is worth noting that the most important and impactful documents you can have in your estate plan are those that are regularly updated to reflect all of the big changes, such as getting married or divorced, or having a child.
DO I NEED A LAWYER FOR MY ESTATE PLAN IN DOUGLAS ?
Obtaining the guidance and services of a Douglas estate planning lawyer is crucial for ensuring that you have the documents in place and regularly updated so that when the time comes that these documents are needed, your affairs are in order and clear instructions are provided as to your wishes. Your Douglas estate planning lawyer can also help you obtain tax benefits through your estate plan or to ensure that your beneficiaries are able to receive these assets in as inexpensive and stress-free way as possible.
Let an experienced estate planning attorney help you prepare for your future by ensuring that you have the required estate planning documents in place. Contact us for a consultation.