Wills and Estate Planning
Everyone needs to have an estate plan in place, no matter how old they are or what their financial situation might look like. Tomorrow is not guaranteed for any of us, and by creating an estate plan, you can take control of what will happen to your finances and property, should something happen to you. Contact the Don Turner Legal Team today and see how our experienced family lawyers can help you create an estate plan that suits your individual needs.Why Do I Need an Estate Plan?
Many people mistakenly believe that estate planning is only for people who are well-off and have significant assets to distribute. This could not be further from the truth. Even someone who dies with little to their name will need their assets distributed after they die. Furthermore, you have no way of knowing what your financial situation will look like in the future. Once you create a will, you can change it at any time, so you lose nothing by creating one now and amending it in the future as your individual situation changes.
If you die without a will, you will have no say in where your assets go. Instead, the probate court will distribute your assets according to state probate laws. These laws determine who inherits in the absence of a will, which means that part or all of your assets could pass to someone you did not want to inherit them. The probate process also takes considerably longer in the absence of a will, which can cause your loved ones needless stress.
An estate plan does not just cover who will inherit your assets and how they are distributed. It also allows you to name someone who will take care of your minor children after you are gone, designate someone to make important decisions for you, should you become incapacitated, and appoint someone as the administrator of your estate. Having a good estate plan in place is one of the best things you can do for both yourself and your family.What Do I Need for an Estate Plan?
Our experienced family law attorneys can help you create an estate plan that best suits your individual needs. However, a basic estate plan will require only three essential documents:
- Power of Attorney: A power of attorney allows you to name one or more people to make financial decisions for you, pay your bills, and manage your assets, should you become incapacitated in the future. A springing power of attorney goes into action once you become incapacitated, while a durable power of attorney goes into effect once the document is signed and continues to be effective even after you become incapacitated.
- Advance Health Care Directive: An advance health care directive will designate someone who can make important medical decisions for you if you become unable to do so. This includes accessing medical records, selecting a physician, and choosing whether or not to put you on life support. You can also use an advance health care directive to lay out your wishes regarding end-of-life care.
- Last Will and Testament: A will is a document that lays out everything that will happen after your death. This includes determining who inherits your assets and how they will be distributed and designating a guardian for your children. A last will and testament also names an executor for your estate – that is, the person who will ensure your wishes are carried out after your death. Wills also allow you to make posthumous gifts and donations in your name.
You need to update your estate planning documents every three to five years, or after the passage of a major life event, such as a divorce, a move to another state, or a significant change in your assets. If you created your estate plan some time ago, you may also need to update your documents in order to take changes to the laws that govern your estate or changes to tax codes into account. Failing to update your estate plan is a very common mistake, and it’s one you need to avoid in order to secure a bright future for your family.
Now is the time to take action and start planning your estate. Nobody knows what tomorrow will bring – you need to plan for your loved ones’ future now. Having a plan in place in case something happens to you will give you some peace of mind, and right now, that is something we all need more than ever. Contact our attorneys today and see how we can help you plan your estate.