A few years ago, I was in a pretty serious car accident. During the aftermath, I became really familiar with a lot of different types of lawyers. I worked with personal injury lawyers, insurance lawyers, and many others. Perhaps the most important, though, was the estate planning lawyer. I was really young, and neither my wife or I had thought about starting a will. But the accident kind of scared us into it. What would happen if one of us were to die? Even when still in the hospital, I was working with the lawyer to draw up a will. Now, I have some peace and security about what the future will be like if something should happen to me. And I have a lot of experience working with various types of lawyers! The accident was kind of a blessing in disguise in that way.
Many people know that they should get an estate plan, but they aren't necessarily sure what that estate plan should include. In order to protect your children, your property, your money and your own interests you should have an estate plan. Here are three things that a common estate plan should include.
1. A Will
In the past wills were used for much more than they are used for now. Wills have to go through a process called probate. This is when the courts overlook the execution of the will. Because you are waiting on the courts it can take a good deal of time to get everything in the will done. After the will is executed the contents of the will go on public record.
This is why most people don't put their finances in the will. Instead, they only name the guardian of minor children in the will and then put everything else in a trust.
2. A Trust
When you meet with an estate planner they will most likely tell you to put all of your money in a trust. A trust is great for many reasons. Unlike the will, it does not go on public record and the courts do not have to monitor its distribution. This means that you will name a trustee of the trust and they will help to distribute all of the assets and property to the beneficiaries.
Money in a trust can become available to the trustees upon death. Consequently, if your family is waiting for money to help care for living expenses they can have what they need right away. This is why most professionals recommend using a trust rather than a will for your finances.
3. A Medical and Legal Power Of Attorney
Another reason that you need an estate plan is so that you have a medical and legal power of attorney. This is very important for people both old and young. If you are over 18 and you are for some reason unable to speak for yourself, who would be your voice and make decisions for you? This is where your power of attorney comes in. You name someone your power of attorney and then if you fall into a coma, are out of the country, or incapacitated in some other way, the person named as your power of attorney can make decisions for you and act in your behalf.
These three things are vital tools of estate planning and can be essential for your family's security and future.Share
12 May 2015