Estate Planning FAQs
What is Estate Planning?
Estate planning is the accumulation, the preservation, and the distribution of your assets during your life and after you die. Estate planning ensures that your assets are managed and maintained in accordance with best practices, by someone of your own choosing, in the event you either die or are incapacitated. It uses specifically selected legal documents to safeguard that during life, and after death, your belongings go to whom, when, and the way you want, while you are living and when you die.
What is an estate plan?
- An estate plan is a group of certain legal documents, that detail your wishes if something were to happen to you. This plan is customizable and is founded upon your goals and needs. This allows you to protect your property while you are living, if you become incapacitated, or upon your passing.
- A comprehensive estate plan may include:
- A named guardian to care for minor children if something happens to the parents.
- A named conservator and/or successor trustee to manage any assets left to minor children.
- A distribution plan for assets and property after death.
- A named personal representative to administer a deceased person’s estate.
- A named successor trustee to manage assets owned in trust.
- A named agent to make health care decisions if you are unable to do so yourself.
- A named agent to handle a person’s finances if they are unable to do so on their own because they are ill or incapacitated.
- A statement which describes your wishes about medical treatment that would only serve to artificially prolong life if you are in a persistent vegetative state or suffering from a terminal condition.
- There is an estate plan already established for each of us — it is either the one we have created for ourselves or the plan the state and federal government has created for us.
Do Only Wealthy People Need to Do Estate Planning?
No, this is a common misconception. You do not need massive wealth to plan your estate. Everyone over the age of 18 can and should create an estate plan. If you do not create your own estate plan, the court will create one for you.
Should I Create a Trust or a Will?
Choosing between a Trust and a Will depends on your goals. If your main objectives are to create a distribution plan for your assets, plan ahead for incapacity, name a guardian for minor children, and you are not looking to avoid probate, a Will-based estate plan is probably right for you. If your objectives are to do all those things and avoid probate, delay distribution of assets for minor children and to protect assets from creditors, a Trust-based estate plan is likely right for you.
What is Probate?
Probate is the procedure the courts use to change title to assets from the name of someone who has passed away into the name of their living beneficiaries. It is also where creditors file their claims to collect debts and outstanding payments from someone who has passed away. Finally, probate is where interested parties who have a complaint regarding the deceased can file their claim to your property. Probate is a public proceeding and can be costly and time-consuming.
Can probate be avoided?
Probate can be avoided with careful Estate Planning. There are a number of different techniques for doing so which can be used alone or in combination.
What are the Advantages of a Trust?
Many people create a trust so that their assets avoid probate, to avoid a conservatorship court proceeding, and to hold assets in a protected “box” for the benefit of a surviving spouse or children. Assets held by the trustee in trust are not subject to probate and may be managed and distributed by the trustee or successor trustee on the incapacity or death of the trustor.
Should I have a Living Trust?
Not only does a Revocable Living Trust provide for the disposition of your property (like a Will), but it also offers the following benefits: (1) Provides for the immediate transfer of assets after death (if desired) or can provide for possible asset protection for those you love by keeping your assets in trust for the benefit of loved ones; (2) Allows for a smooth transition of management upon incapacity or death; (3) Avoids the expense and hassle of probate proceedings; (4) Allows for continued control over assets after death or incapacity; (5) Provides security to you and your loved ones; (6) Offers flexibility.
Who Should I Hire to Create My Estate Plan?
The only way you can be sure that your estate plan works the way you want it to is to hire an experienced estate planning attorney. Our estate planning attorneys can apply the law to your specific circumstances and create a customized estate plan tailored to meet your individual goals and needs. We offer a variety of options designed to give you the peace of mind that your estate plan will be there and function correctly when you need it.
DON’T LEAVE YOUR
ESTATE TO CHANCE
Call Denali Law today at
Our estate planning attorneys can apply the law to your specific circumstances and create a customized estate plan tailored to meet your individual goals and needs. We offer a variety of options designed to give you the peace of mind that your estate plan will be there and function correctly when you need it. Contact us today at 888.213.2059 or send us an email at email@example.com.