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At Krueger & Hernandez, we know that creating an estate plan can be more difficult than it sounds. For this reason, we do whatever we can to provide clients with a high level of assistance. While some people understand the benefits of estate planning, others continue to hold back for one reason or another. There is no law requiring you to create an estate plan, but neglecting to do so could lead to a variety of issues for you and/or your family in the future.
Rather than hope for the best, it’s important to learn more about the estate planning process. As you dig deep, as you pick up more details in relation to your situation, you’ll find it simple to create a plan that you can be comfortable with. Due to the fact that estate planning can be so complicated, it’s important to focus your time and attention on answering the right questions. When you do this, there will come a point when you feel even better about your current situation, as well as what will happen as you age. With this in mind, let’s review some frequently asked questions associated with estate planning:
An estate plan is best for elderly individuals, right?
Many people are under the impression that creating an estate plan is something you do later in life. It’s true that older people often focus on this, but that doesn’t mean you should wait. Consider this: you can become injured or ill at any point in your life. Unfortunately, this means that you could pass on before you ever believed possible. This isn’t likely to happen, but it’s better to be safe than sorry. For this reason, you don’t want to wait until it’s too late to create an estate plan. Instead, this is something to tackle early in your life.
Does it make sense to accumulate many assets before creating an estate plan?
This goes along with the question above to a certain degree. Many people think about estate planning and one thing comes to mind: making a decision regarding “who gets what” when they die. While this is an important part of estate planning, it’s not the only thing to consider. In short, you don’t need a lot of assets in order to create an estate plan.
Is it possible to create an estate plan without the help of an attorney?
There is no denying the fact that we live in a “do it yourself” world. Many people would rather tackle a project on their own as opposed to hiring a professional. While there are times when this makes sense, such as with a home renovation, estate planning is a different beast entirely. There is no room for error when creating an estate plan. There is no room to make a mistake, as this could quickly put you and/or your family in a worse position. As tempted as you may be to do everything on your own, it’s best to hire a professional. If you don’t, you’ll always wonder if you’ve made a costly mistake.
Should you consider a living trust as opposed to a will?
When it comes to the first step in estate planning, many people immediately think about creating a will. This is a great decision for some, but others find that a living trust could be the better choice. There are a few benefits of a living trust, as compared to a will, including:
- A way for your assets to avoid probate. This will save your heirs time and money upon your death.
- All transactions of a living trust are private. This is not true of a will.
- A living trust is the better option for those who are thinking about helping loved ones save money once they pass.
There are pros and cons of a will and living trust. You need to learn more about both before deciding how to best move forward. This is the only way that you will ever be confident in your decision.
Is probate really that big of a deal?
As you get started with estate planning, it goes without saying that you will hear the word “probate” over and over again. Probate is defined by the American Bar Association as follows:
“Probate is the formal legal process that gives recognition to a will and appoints the executor or personal representative who will administer the estate and distribute assets to the intended beneficiaries.”
Probate isn’t something you’ll face while you are alive. Instead, it’s something your loved ones will deal with upon your death. If you’re seeking ways to help your family save time and money, you may want to consider the many strategies for avoiding probate.
Is incapacity planning part of creating a comprehensive estate plan?
In short, the answer is yes. If you’re going to create an estate plan, it’s a good idea to focus some time on incapacity planning. This has nothing to do with you passing away. It has everything to do with making the right decisions in the event that you are incapacitated and unable to speak for yourself. As you create an incapacity plan, you’ll need to answer questions such as:
- Who will be in charge of your medical decisions if you can’t make choices on your own?
- Who will be in charge of your finances during this difficult time?
- What can you do to ensure that your wishes are carried out, even if you don’t have the power to communicate?
You hope that you never become incapacitated, but if you do it’s imperative to have a plan in place to protect your interests.
Let Our Experienced Attorneys Help
Estate planning is never as simple as it sounds. As you begin to ponder the many aspects of creating an estate plan, it’s only natural to have some questions. If you need any advice or guidance, don’t wait to reach out. You can contact us online or via phone at (800) 431-9776. Either way, you can request a free consultation today.