An Estate Planning Attorney Explains the Importance of Key Documents
June 1, 2016
When you meet with an estate planning attorney, your ultimate goal is to maximize the amount you leave behind for your heirs or beneficiaries. As one, I can help you to explore the many options that you will need to examine. There will be some critical pieces that you will need to put into place to make sure that after other expenses, taxes, and probate fees, your heirs or beneficiaries have the maximum possible left for them from your estate. It is critically important that we meet now since you never know what the future holds. This will ensure that you get the correct legal and tax advice while you can still implement it.
Create These Documents Today
Estate Planning also includes thinking ahead to end of life decision making. With my help, as your estate planning attorney, there are three critical documents you will want to put into place. These are not the only documents, but they form the foundation from which any other decisions can and will be made. These three include a will, a healthcare proxy, and a durable power of attorney. As I go about examining your estate, I will also need to address any potential tax issues associated with the forming and maintaining of your future estate. Planning an estate can be an extraordinarily complex task; however, a well-informed plan can make a huge difference in what is left over for your beneficiaries and heirs.
Let Us Look at Two of These Foundation Documents.
The Will: A document most people are already familiar with is a Will. Unfortunately, not enough people take the time to consult with an estate planning attorney to make sure that their will is perfectly legitimate, meets the legal standards, and is current and updated. An incomplete, outdated, or non-existent will can create immense amounts of complications down the road. This is why it’s important that if you are going to be involved in estate planning at all, you have an estate planning attorney draw up a will, which is the legal document defining how you want your assets distributed after your passing. If you have minor children, this document is critical because it will include a provision listing out who will gain custody of them if you died. Without a will containing this provision, your wishes as to the future care your children is unknown and they could become wards of the state and put into foster care.
The Durable Power of Attorney: As an estate planning attorney, I will tell you that a durable power of attorney simply grants the authority of one person to another person to make certain decisions on their behalf. This can be an extremely powerful document, because the person who has the durable power of attorney can essentially make all the relevant decisions with regard to your assets during your lifetime.Appropriate of inappropriate use of the POA may mean that nothing ends up in the estate when you pass.
Get Help Today
Planning for how your assets will be distributed sounds a lot easier than it is. There are legal and tax ramifications to your decisions and without a proper plan, your heirs could be dealing with the stress of the probate system, infighting, and tax consequences. This is not a situation you want to leave your family in and as your estate planning attorney, I can work to prevent it by ensuring that everything is in place for a smooth transfer of assets.