Is this your first time making an estate plan? You will need to know what’s included in a basic yet comprehensive estate plan before forming a plan of action.
The following are common features of an estate plan. An attorney can help you to customize your estate plan to meet your unique needs.
A will is the most basic document in an estate plan. In it, you’ll make some decisions relating to how you want your assets distributed and to whom. You may also make funeral arrangements. One thing to remember about a will is that your heirs will very likely have to wait for probate to end before they see any of their inheritance. Probate is a process that ensures everything in an estate plan is legally sound and in order.
You may set up a trust instead of or in addition to your will, depending on your circumstances. A trust works by placing assets in the hands of a trustee who will then pass the assets on to the beneficiary/beneficiaries. A significant benefit associated with creating a trust is that it can avoid probate and most estate taxes. Furthermore, a trust can safeguard against disputes if a family member is unsatisfied with their inheritance.
Naming an executor of the estate
You can name an executor of the estate in your will. Their role is to prepare the distribution of assets and to get your affairs in order during the probate process. For example, they’ll likely have to collect your death certificate, validate your will, secure prized assets and contact your family and friends. They may even be responsible for maintaining your home, paying taxes and other debts and collecting insurance money.
Power of attorney
One aspect of a will that’s often overlooked is power of attorney designations. A power of attorney is a role that gives someone the right to make decisions on behalf of the testator. In most cases, the testator has to be incapacitated before the power of attorney has any power. As such, if the testator does suffer from an injury or medical condition that deems them incapacitated, then the power of attorney may handle the testator’s medical and financial decisions.
If you have a child, one important feature you’ll need to consider adding to your estate plan is a guardian. A guardian can ensure that your children are properly cared for if you suffer a fatal accident or illness.
Creating an estate plan can be difficult on your own. To ensure you’re making a strong and enforceable estate plan, you may benefit from reaching out for legal help.