Written by Daisha Barnes
Estate planning can seem daunting, for a variety of reasons. However, an estate plan is crucial as it can help protect yourself, your family, and your assets when dealing with the inevitabilities of life, such as death or incapacity. Estate plans are more than just executing a will. They can also help, for example, by allowing you to prepare a plan for the type of medical care you’ll receive if you are unable to communicate your wishes. Before visiting with an attorney, here are a few things to consider when planning your estate.
What Are Your Goals for the Estate Plan?
An important question to answer is, what do you want your estate plan to do? To determine your goals, consider the specific issues that will affect your family, if something were to happen. Take into account caring for your spouse, children and pets or protecting your property and business. An estate plan can include ways to provide for your family, protect your assets and even prepare for your medical care in the event of incapacity.
How Do You Want to Protect Yourself?
An estate plan can protect you when it comes to the type of healthcare you will receive. For example, do you want life saving measures to be undertaken? In the unfortunate event of incapacity, it is vital to plan what type of healthcare directives you want in place. To help determine this, you may want to think about a living will or a healthcare power of attorney. You may also want to contemplate who will manage your assets and make other decisions. This can be done through a power of attorney.
What Assets Do You Want to Include and What Are Potential Risks?
It is important to document which assets will be transferred to loved ones. Create a list of all the assets to include in your estate plan. This can include, but is not limited to: vehicles, intellectual property, real property, and personal property. It is also beneficial to note potential risks that may result in loss of these assets.
Consider the Probate Process
There are many different ways to implement your estate plan. A will is another way to carry out your estate plan. A will usually explains how to transfer your assets and take care of loved ones, such as minor children. A will must go through the probate process. The probate process verifies that the will is legal, and that the deceased person’s intentions are carried out. Another way is through the creation of a trust. A trust is simply an entity that holds other assets and even other entities, in which you provide how the assets will be managed and distributed.
We Can Help
If you are interested in creating or revising your estate plan, contact our office to discuss your specific goals. We are here for you, meeting you wherever you are in the estate planning process!
About the Author
Daisha Barnes is third year law student at the Campbell University Norman Adrian Wiggins School of Law and a current law clerk at Smith Dominguez, PLLC. During her time at Campbell, Daisha has been heavily involved in with the Black Law Student
Association, the Hispanic Law Student Association and the Campbell Law Innocence Project.