Estate planning is important for people of all ages, but as we age, the need for planning becomes even more critical. Many people avoid estate planning because they do not want to think about end of life, failing health. Others believe that an estate plan is only necessary for the rich. In reality, an estate plan is helpful for families from all backgrounds regardless of overall wealth.
What Is an Estate Plan?
An estate plan is a comprehensive way to instruct how your estate should be settled and distributed after your death. It also determines how your assets should be managed if you become unable to make financial or health care decisions. Furthermore, an estate plan can save you and your successors substantial money in court costs, legal fees, and taxes by helping your estate avoid the lengthy and expensive legal process called probate.
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What Considerations Go Into an Estate Plan?
The estate is all the property owned both individually and jointly, including bank accounts, real estate, jewelry, etc. As estate also consists of all outstanding debts. Without an estate plan, it is very difficult to carry out a person’s wishes. Even with a properly executed will, death in the absence of a well-constructed estate plan can bring on long, drawn-out probate that can be very expensive for the family. If an estate plan is in place, it can provide peace of mind for the senior adult and their family, as well as protection for the wishes of the senior.
More often than not, a good estate plan consists of the following:
- A will – a simple legal document to specify who should inherit your property or care for your children after your death
- A living will – an advance directive that documents your desires regarding end-of-life medical treatment, including life support, in the event that you become incapacitated
- Medical power of attorney – an advance directive that names someone you trust to speak on your behalf to health care providers and make important decisions regarding your continuing care once you are no longer able to make decisions for yourself
- Financial power of attorney – an advance directive that gives permission to someone you trust to act as your legal representative for all financial matters in the event that you become incapacitated
- A trust – a fiduciary arrangement that allows you to transfer ownership of your assets to be managed by a third-party trustee
Do I Need an Estate Plan?
If you only have a will, it may not be enough. While a will is a necessary document that every person should have, it is still a relatively simple document that may not cover everything you want or need. You may want to consider creating an estate plan that involves the use of a living trust, plus other important documents like a power of attorney for finances and health care directives. In short, yes, it is always a good idea to have a well-thought-out estate plan.
Wagner Law – Customizable Solutions for Your Estate Planning Needs
Planning your estate with the guidance of an experienced Estate Planning Attorney can bring you peace of mind that your financial resources will be protected for the future. At Wagner Law, we work to ease the stress of estate planning and preserve your rights through important advance directives and trusts. Only a carefully constructed estate plan created by an experienced Trust and Wills Attorney like Brandon Wagner can prepare you for the future and serve as an anchor against both foreseen and unforeseen life events.
Our legal team will work with you and your family here in Clarkston, MI, to build the best estate plan for your future. At Wagner Law, we know that the work we do will have a lasting impact on your life and your beneficiaries. We take our responsibility to advocate for your wishes long after you’re gone very seriously. That’s why, from the moment you contact our legal team, you and your loved ones will receive incomparable personal attention so that you can build your estate plan with confidence.
We strive to bring you peace of mind through customized solutions suited to your particular circumstances because every human, every estate, is unique. But there’s one thing we all have in common: the need to create a well-crafted plan to provide for ourselves and our families with the guidance of an experienced attorney. At Wagner Law, we’ve dedicated our practice to helping you and your family plan for major life events while protecting the things that matter most to you.
Need help getting started with your estate planning? Contact us today to request your complimentary consultation.