A: Estate Planning is simply arranging for your and your family’s safekeeping throughout your life and after death. It includes creating various documents that explain your wishes concerning medical care, care of your children, and your assets.

Estate planning can also involve making arrangements for long-term care, such as choosing a healthcare power of attorney to make medical decisions on your behalf if you are unable to do so. It can also involve making financial and tax-related decisions to minimize the impact of taxes and other expenses on your estate.

A: Your age will decide what kind of estate plan is necessary. For example, once you turn 18, a financial power of attorney and/or healthcare power of attorney would be helpful if something happens that leads to you being incapacitated or hospitalized.

When you get older and/or acquire assets, you should have a plan to protect your assets. Further, once you have children, you must plan for their future, from potential guardians to how their inheritance is handled.

Lastly, the most significant time in your life to create your estate plan is when you reach the age of 65 or older. By creating a comprehensive estate plan at this point, you ensure that there is guidance for your family and that your legacy is taken care of.

A: Every estate plan is unique and needs to be individualized for you specifically.

Therefore, we will start our first meeting by getting to know you and asking you questions.

Here are some questions we might be asking you:

  • How do you want to provide for your spouse?
  • What are your assets, and how do you want them protected?
  • Is privacy important to you regarding your assets after you pass away?
  • Are you interested in learning how to protect your assets from creditors and other third parties?
  • Are you concerned about the mismanagement of your assets after you pass away?
  • Do you know the prominent individuals you feel would be able to help you should something happen to you?
  • Do you know the individuals that you would like to handle your estate after you pass away?
  • How do you want your assets distributed?

Once we have answers like these, we can make a comprehensive and personalized plan for you. So contact us to get started today.

A: There are several documents to include in your estate plan to prepare you and your family for the future. There are different reasons for each of these documents, so speaking with an attorney to discuss them is vital to decide what you need.

Here is a basic list of documents that are incorporated into most estate plans:

  1. Last Will and Testament
  2. Revocable Living Trust
  3. Financial Durable Power of Attorney
  4. Health Care Power of Attorney
  5. Living Will and Advance Care Plan

You should also update your beneficiary designations and create a Letter of Instruction or Intent to explain and express your intentions after you pass away.

Contact us to learn more about how we can help you and your loved ones with estate planning.

A: Fortunately, the cost of Estate Planning far outweighs the costs that may be incurred by you and your family if there is no plan in place. Some expenses that may arise:

  • Estate death tax: whether your estate pays this and how much depends on the size of your estate and your location.
  • Probate Court costs: all courts have fees and costs, plus the probate attorney’s fees that will be incurred which typically are charged hourly.
  • Creditors and debtors: without specific actions taken, third parties can go after most of your assets, leaving much less for your beneficiaries.
  • Long-Term Care costs: due to the incapacitation of you or your spouse, your estate may be exposed for payment without proper protections.

These costs could be reduced or entirely avoided with the help of a detailed estate plan. Contact us to learn more.

A: When deciding who to choose, it is crucial to consider your family relationships and if the person you chose has the right qualifications.

A few things to consider are if the individual has the proper skill set and business sense for this role, but there are other things to consider. It is important to consider how they will get along with the remaining members of your family and if they can handle matters peacefully and smoothly. You want to trust fully that your affairs will be taken care of in the manner you request.

Overall, it is wise to choose someone that has organizational skills, is upfront and honest, and is respectful to everyone included.

Contact us to learn more about how we can help you and your loved ones with estate planning.

A: Creating an estate plan with your family involved can be very straightforward. In fact, it can be the intelligent way to go if you have any concerns with specific personalities in your family. Involving them can lessen potential stress and discord if you are incapacitated or pass away.

The first step is to speak with us and determine what documents should be in your estate plan, and then once they are drafted, reviewed, and signed, hold a family meeting. It is recommended that this include any individual in the documents. However, you can also include the rest of your family if you feel it is best.

At the meeting, you should explain your desires and goals for the future. Then, you can share your reasoning for making certain decisions, such as the individuals in your documents, and have everything laid out for them to see and understand.

The best result is you feel more confident after the meeting, knowing that you have done your best to have your loved ones included. This will hopefully encourage minimal conflict and harm later on.

Contact us to learn more about how we can help you and your loved ones with estate planning.

A: Any time is a good time to talk to an estate planning attorney. It is best to speak with an attorney during the second quarter of life to plan ahead. However, talking with one becomes imperative once you begin the third quarter of life. There could be dangerous situations by waiting till late into the third quarter of life.

The most essential requirement is to speak with an attorney when you are in good health. Completing your estate planning needs should occur when you are alive and competent. It allows you to participate in significant decisions and address any concerns ahead of time so that everyone is prepared for anything that may happen to you.

Contact us to learn more about how we can help you and your loved ones with estate planning.

A: Asking questions during a consultation is practical and illuminative. We want you to have confidence in everything you need to know moving forward.

Here are some potential questions you can ask to help you decide who you want to work with:

  1. How long have you been practicing law?
  2. What are the costs that are included in any estate plan made?
  3. What are the primary documents needed for my estate?
  4. What should I do with my documents once I leave here?
  5. How long does it take for the documents to be created?
  6. How do you address updates for the estate plans that are made?

Another idea is to look at other clients’ reviews and testimonials about working with them.

By finding the right estate planning attorney for you, you will have an excellent resource for you and your family.

Contact us to learn more about how we can help you and your loved ones with estate planning.

A: Probate is the process of court administration and distribution of your assets and property, either according to the state’s laws or a will if it has been created. The probate process may be fine if you have a reasonably simple estate. However, it is still best for you to have a will in place for the court to follow.

Having a will ensures that your assets are distributed to your specifications. Without a will, the court will be required to follow the distribution plans following state law, which may not be how you would want it.

There are ways to avoid probate. It may be the right course for you if you have a more significant estate, want privacy, and want to avoid the time and costs that occur with the probate process.

Contact us to learn more about how we can help you and your loved ones with estate planning.

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