Estate planning is a necessary part of protecting your family. It involves creating instructions to take care of your wishes after you die. You can choose someone you can rely on to manage your affairs if you are unable to do so yourself. This saves your family from having to make decisions on your behalf and pay for unplanned expenses.
What Is a Will?
When it comes to estate planning, there are a few documents you will need. One of those documents is a will and testaments. Your will lays out who will get your assets, and it names your executor. In a will, you will choose your children's guardian.
You will also choose a person to manage your minor children's property. In order for the will and testaments to be valid, you need to sign it in front of witnesses. You also need to make sure you store it in a safe place.
What Happens if You Don't Have a Will?
If you die without a will, intestacy laws will decide how your assets are distributed. Under these laws, your closest family members will get your property. Your spouse and children are considered your closest family members.
If you are not married, and you do not have children, your parents would be next in line. In situations where there is no family, the state will take the property of the deceased.
When Do You Need a Lawyer?
You do not need a lawyer to make a will. There is software on the market that can help you create a will. However, you may want to consult an attorney if you feel your will could be contested or if you wish to disinherit your spouse.
You will also need a power of attorney for finances. In this document, you will name who will take care of your finances. In a living will, you will state what kind of end-of-life medical care you want as well as who your health care surrogate will be. The surrogate will makes sure your medical care decisions are being carried out.
How to Avoid Probate
You can also take steps to avoid your estate going through the probate process. Probate is a judicial process that allows your executor to pay off any debts and taxes you owe as well as give what is left of your assets to those meant to inherit them. The probate process is both expensive and takes a lot of time. Getting a living trust before you die can help your family avoid the probate process.
You create one when you are alive. Individuals that you name in it as beneficiaries will inherit the property mentioned in it once you die. You could use a will to do this. However, a will requires you to go through probate.
When creating a living trust, you have to choose between a revocable and irrevocable one. As the trustee, you are in control of it while you are alive. In it, you will name a successor trustee to manage it after you die. You can modify a revocable one at any time. Once an irrevocable one is signed, it cannot be revoked.
Although you do not need an attorney to do family planning in regard to your death, hiring one can make the process easier. An attorney can help you catch the things you miss. A law firm, like Benson Mucci & Weiss, is well-versed in the law so they know how to do things right the first time.