Improving Your Estate Plans: What You Need to Know
Estate planning is the preparation of documents that will manage your assets when you pass. When you plan ahead, you include the heirs of your estate, and how the taxes will be settled. In most estate plans, an estate attorney is involved because he will read what you wished to happen to your designated heirs or family. Improving estate plans helps ensure your final wishes are respected.
What Do You Need for Estate Planning?
A Written Will
A will is important because it shows the heirs of your estate what each of them will share. Without a will, your estate can land in the wrong hands or may end up being split by a local judge, according to state laws. You also risk your assets going to places you don’t wish them to.
Life insurance can be used for the basic needs of funeral planning and will provide an income to the surviving family. The insurance can also be used to pay debts.
Critical End of Life Documents
This includes a power of attorney, which is an agent to manage funds, and the release of information which permits doctors to share medical records, or a medical power of attorney that designates another person the authority to make medical and health decisions when you no longer are able to. These documents are crucial during estate planning and can be used in court.
Know What Goes to Probate
Probate is administered after death. Life Insurance and money do not need to go into probate. An estate attorney will help you decide what goes to a probate, which may include a written will.
Why You Would Want to Estate Plan
There are various reasons that will make you plan for your estate. These include:
Eliminating Family Messes When You are Gone
Sibling rivalry sometimes come along when dividing an estate. One sibling may feel they deserve more than another one. These rivalries, at times, come from financial issues and debt settlement.
Prevents Wealth from Unintended Beneficiaries
Families need to plan for what happens after the primary money maker passes. You should decide who receives your property, since you will not have any control of your property.
Protects Families with Young Children
Here, the will portion of an estate plan comes in. In order to ensure that your children are well taken care of, in a manner that you approve of, you can name their guardians to be responsible of them if both parents pass before the children turn 18. Without this agreement, the local courts will step in.
Why You Need an Estate Plan
Protects Your Vision for the Future
Estate planning goes well beyond just managing where your money goes. It can also help protect families with young children. If your spouse remarries, you can take measures to protect the rights of your children to share an estate.
People Find Estate Planning Useful
Unfortunately, you cannot predict whether you will be involved in an accident, or when you will pass. Therefore, even if you are in your twenties, estate planning may be useful for you—it eases the thought of what will happen to your assets if something tragic occurs.
Wills Only Offer Planning in Case of Your Death
In the event you are diagnosed with a neurological disorder or mental disability, a will cannot offer your family guidance or protect you, whereas an estate plan can.
Small Assets Matter
Even if you feel that these assets are not worth a lot, having an estate plan can help reduce any conflict between family members over who gets what. Without such a plan, everything will be determined in accordance with your state’s inheritance laws.
Why You Need an Attorney
An estate planning attorney is important because:
- An attorney will help you in preparing a will and help you manage the process with or without the will
- An attorney can establish a living trust to avoid probate and allow for management of assets in the event of incapacity
- An attorney will help pass property to your loved ones in the manners you wish
- An attorney can create irrevocable trust or other special types of trust to protect your wishes
If you want to create an estate plan or make changes to one you currently have but aren’t sure where to begin, contact us at Lawyer Referral Service of Central Texas. We serve the Austin and surrounding areas, and have many highly qualified and experienced lawyers that can help you plan for the future.