Will Preparation

What Is an Estate Plan?

An estate plan is a set of legal documents and other arrangements designed to ensure your assets are distributed according to your wishes after you die, rather than being subject to probate. Estate plans can be used by individuals as well as families with children. They may also include provisions for caregiving if needed. Estate planning involves the will trusts, beneficiary designations, powers of appointment, property ownership, gift, and powers of attorney, specifically the durable financial power of attorney and the durable medical power of attorney.

What Is a Will?

A will is a legal document that describes how an individual's assets are to be distributed after death. A person can make his own will or have one made for him. The most important part of any will is its provisions regarding who should receive what upon the testator's death. In addition to naming beneficiaries, wills often include instructions about funeral arrangements, burial sites, organ donation, etc., as well as other matters such as payment of debts and distribution of personal effects.

Why Is Estate Planning Important?

You should have an estate plan because if you become disabled to care for yourself and your children, you want to ensure that:

  • your children are placed with a person that you trust to love them and raise them if you are unable;
  • your wishes for how your assets should be used to provide financial stability for your children;
  • your medical wishes are known and respected; and
  • you have directed who should make medical and financial decisions on your behalf.

You should have an estate plan because once you pass away, you want to ensure that:

  • your children are placed with a person that you trust to love them and raise them if you are unable;
  • your wishes for how your assets should be used to provide financial stability for your children;
  • your wishes for your funeral arrangements are known and respected;
  • your property and assets are passed in accordance with your wishes;
  • your property and assets are protected from creditors; and
  • you avoid paying unnecessary taxes on the property and assets that you pass on to your loved ones.

Do I Need an Lawyer to Help Me Draft a Will?

 While there are many online services and software that helps your draft a will without the assistance of a lawyer, there is one important thing to always keep in mind- you will doesn't just cover your estate—it covers all aspects of your life. So if you leave something out, you could inadvertently cut off someone else's inheritance. Having a qualified lawyer can provide valuable guidance throughout the process, explain complex areas of law and offer suggestions regarding drafting strategies. An experienced attorney can also ensure that your Will meets state requirements and avoid common pitfalls.

We understand that it can be uncomfortable to think about your end of life wishes. It's important to have a plan in place so that your instructions are carried out accordingly, and your family doesn't have to deal with any legal burdens in addition to the emotional toll of losing a loved one. We have experience guiding clients through a variety of estate planning services.  Having an estate plan in place can mean less future stress for your loved ones and greater peace of mind for you in the meantime. Whether you need help creating a will or understanding the probate process, we can help. Contact us today.