Estate Planning Request Form
Estate planning is the planning and naming of people or organizations who will receive your assets in the event that you die, or are unable to manage your assets due to an illness or unforeseen event. The plan ensures that your finances, investments, property, business(es), dependents, and sometimes care, get managed according to your instructions.
What Falls Under an Estate?
Whether rich or poor, everyone has an estate. An estate includes cash, vehicles, real estate, checking and savings accounts, investments, retirement funds, life insurance, jewelry, intellectual property, personal possession, and even furniture.
Why is Estate Planning Important?
Estate Planning ensures that your assets are managed the way you want them to be when you die or are unable to. It ensures that the way you want your assets to be distributed and managed is carried out.
Disability without an estate plan
Without an estate plan, if you become mentally or physically unable to conduct your business, the state will assign someone through a conservatorship or guardianship to supervise and control your assets and care. Getting this reversed becomes difficult if you are finally able to manage your own estate.
Death without an estate plan
If you die without an estate plan, any assets without a beneficiary will be managed by your state laws and distributed to your spouse and children, regardless of age. So, if you have adult children, your spouse will get a fraction of your assets, instead of the 100% needed. If you have an estranged spouse, your spouse will also get a portion of your assets, which may not be what you want. If both you and your spouse die, the state will appoint a guardian for your minor children, regardless of your wishes.
Estate plans are important because they are a plan for when the unexpected happens. They ensure that you and your loved ones are taken care of, in more ways than one, and provide a sense of peace knowing that you have something in place when you are unable to make those decisions.
How Can an Estate Planning Attorney Help?
An estate planning attorney can help in a few ways. First, to begin your estate plan, you will need to establish a Will or Living Trust. An attorney can help with this.
A Will is a legal document with instructions about how you want to distribute your assets after you die. A Will also addresses who should care for your minor children. Without a will, the courts will decide how to distribute your assets, and will appoint a guardian for your minor children. An estate planning attorney can help you establish your Will if that is the route you choose to go. An attorney knows the correct documents to use and will help you write your last Will and Testament. An estate planning attorney can also assist the executor of your Will in transferring the assets to your beneficiaries.
A living trust is similar to a will in that it is a legal document that leaves instructions for your assets and your beneficiaries. The living trust owns the assets and gets managed trustee that is appointed by the grantor. In this case, the grantor would be you. As the grantor, you can appoint yourself as the trustee, which will give you full control of your assets. The successor trustee you appoint will assume the title of the trustee in the event of your death. A living trust is commonly known as a “revocable living trust” because you can change the assets and beneficiaries at any time before your death. Similar to a Will, establishing a living trust can be overwhelming. An estate planning attorney can help set up your living trust. He can provide guidance on what kind of trust to establish, the documents and titles you need, and which assets to include. An estate planning attorney can also write the Declaration of Trust.
Now is the best time to start your estate planning
Life is unpredictable and the best thing you can do for yourself and your family is to have a plan for your assets and their care. Estate planning doesn’t have to be complicated or expensive. Speak to an estate planning today and take the first step in preparing for the unexpected.