Any estate planning lawyer could tell you that setting up a last will and testament is not limited to novels or movies. There is a legal process for drafting wills. An estate attorney can make sure that any legal document you create follows relevant estate planning laws. After all, you would not want your loved ones to face unnecessary stress when you pass away.
An estate is everything that an individual owns. Included here are real estate, joint properties, and life insurance. Meanwhile, an estate plan indicates who is in charge of one’s affairs (be it during life or after death), who will inherit or receive one’s assets, and who cares for minor children, if any.
The following are estate planning documents you will likely encounter in estate planning: financial power of attorney, health care power of attorney, trusts, and wills.
Power of attorney for finances
Estate law provides for what is called a financial power of attorney. This is among the most important of all documents since it gives another individual the capacity to act on your behalf. Without one, a family member might have to go through the probate process. The probate court will appoint the conservator who will manage your affairs. An estate planning attorney can explain this process to you in more detail.
Power of attorney for health
This is also very important since it gives another individual the capacity to decide on questions involving medical treatment. A patient advocate is appointed to make decisions for you when you are unable to do so yourself. As such, a health care power of attorney is also sometimes referred to as a patient advocate designation or an advance directive. Following probate law, a guardian will be appointed in the absence of this estate document.
A trust is a lawful setup in which an individual or company takes care of another person’s properties. The trust’s possessions can be utilized to pay for the other person’s expenses. The person whose expenses are paid for by a trust is called the “beneficiary” and the person or organization in charge of taking care of the property is the “trustee.” A lot of different types of assets can be placed in a trust. Money, stocks, land, and bonds may all be managed can be put into a trust.
This written document will direct the disposition of your assets and personal property when you are deceased (the said assets must be solely yours and with no beneficiary designation). The individual appointed to carry out your wishes when you die is called a personal representative. Making a will also enable you to decide on the guardianship of your surviving minor children.
Estate administration is not just about transferring and distributing property. Deciding on who you grant powers of attorney to or drafting a will is part of a crucial estate planning process. Take note of the following estate planning reminders to prevent any legal issues from arising.
- Keep a record of assets, bank account details, tax returns, and other important documents
- Be careful when you designate or add beneficiaries
- Keep in mind that joint owners will likely be able to keep jointly-owned assets, regardless of what is in the will
- Be cautious when naming beneficiaries for life insurance
Wills and estates must be taken very seriously. Do not be tempted to simply write a will and appoint heirs without talking to a trusted estate lawyer.
Get advice from reliable estate planning attorneys. Our law firm specializes in the powers of attorneys, wills, probate, and estate planning. For reliable estate planning services, call us at Entrusted Estate and Asset Protection, PC.