Estate planning can be a hard topic to think about but is absolutely necessary if you want to protect your family after your death. The alternative is leaving your loved ones with a huge headache and possibly leaving them to make difficult decisions in a heightened emotional state.
Taking care of the basics before your passing will allow for peace of mind all around in the event of your death. Let’s go through the first steps of protecting your family financially.
Meeting with an estate attorney should always be your first step. Though you may not need an attorney for every step in the process, having an attorney by your side is the best way to ensure you don’t miss deadlines or new legal information as you are filling out your documents.
Create A Will
It might seem like a standard thing to do when getting older in age and creating a family, but many Americans find out too late their loved one did not take the time to have a will drafted. A will is a document that dictates how the properties and assets of a person are to be dispersed after death. It can be very important when you have a large family, especially including children. Without a will, it could cause turmoil between family members debating who deserves what assets. When creating your will, you will also need to name an executor to handle your estate
You May Want To Create A Trust
A trust is where one party gives property or assets to a second party to be held and used for the benefit of a third party. This can be beneficial when you have minor dependents. You can create a trust they can benefit from later in life when they become an adult. Trusts help your family members better manage the assets you’ve left them while also keeping those same assets away from creditors or other family members.
Power Of Attorney
A Power of Attorney grants a designated individual the right to manage your property, handle your business affairs, and sign legal documents on your behalf. If you become incapacitated, this form allows the person you assign to make you decisions. You can assign a POA for financial and medical needs, so keep that in mind. Without assigning a POA, your family may end up in court over what to do with your assets.
Advance Health Directive
An advanced health care directive serves two primary purposes: (1.) it appoints a health care agent to make decisions for you in the event you are unable to make them for yourself, and (2.) it directs your health care agent and provider with regard to end-of-life decisions. The document gives instructions on managing your health care, burial, and medical decisions in the event that you are unable to verbalize your own wishes.
Organize Your Paperwork
After all this work is completed, it won’t mean anything if your family can’t put their hands on it when they need it the most. If you’re working with an attorney, they should always have a copy your loved ones can receive, should they need to, but it would be smart to also have a copy of your own tucked away where you and a few family members you trust can access it.
Everything should be filed away in one place where you, your spouse, or a close family member can find it. Included with the new paperwork you’ve filed, remember to place other important documents your family may need in the event of your passing, such as your social security number, health insurance, and phone numbers to your doctor and attorney.
This should hold as a guide to creating the best outcome for your family after your death, but should not replace speaking to an actual estate planning attorney. Yoru attorney will help you decide which path(s) are best for you, provide you with the proper paperwork, and be privy to legal information you may not have found on your own.
If you are ready to create an estate plan that will protect your family financially after your death, please book an appointment here.
Attorney Success is a licensed member of both the South Carolina and Georgia State Bars, accredited by the Department of Veterans Affairs, as well as a registered neutral with the State of Georgia Commission on Dispute Resolution. She is a lifelong resident of central DeKalb County and a graduate of the University of Georgia. The Success Firm is serving the growing needs of the Metropolitan Atlanta area located in Decatur, GA. Attorney Success delivers legal solutions in the best interest of her clients.