A proper estate plan will ensure that your assets are distributed according to your wishes after you die. It will help your survivors avoid lengthy probate, a process in which the court settles your affairs. Estate contents may become public record once they enter probate court, so having a specific plan also helps to ensure privacy.
Too often, otherwise responsible adults shy away from estate planning because it can be unnerving to think about a time when they will no longer be around to support their loved ones. However, as any trusted and experienced estate planning lawyer – including those who practice at Klenk Law – can confirm, preparing for the inevitable will bring you peace of mind. Knowing that your assets will be distributed according to your wishes and knowing that your loved ones will avoid certain stresses because you planned ahead are invaluable reasons to speak with a lawyer about crafting an estate plan.
DIY Tools Are Unreliable
Many websites offer to generate an estate plan for you. You enter data, and the site delivers a plan based on the data provided. There are concerns with using this type of tool. Every estate plan is different, and these programs aren’t often nuanced enough to accurately reflect the wishes of the creator. Additionally, they may not properly take into account variations in state law, which can dramatically alter how an estate plan should be crafted.
Estate Laws Are Complex
Lawyers attend years of law school to gain expertise in reading and interpreting the law. Many specialize in specific areas to become experts. Estate planning lawyers are knowledgeable about local estate planning laws and changes that may be occurring at the state and/or federal level that can affect one’s ability to protect their assets. You’ll benefit from this knowledge when you work with a lawyer to create your estate plan.
Estate Plans Are Unique
Just because you lead a similar life to your friend or family member does not mean that your estate plans will match. Every person has a unique situation, and an estate plan should be written accordingly. A lawyer knows what questions to ask a client and can answer the client’s questions throughout the process. This discussion may prompt a change in how the estate plan is set up.
Medical Care Is Critical
In addition to dividing up assets, you can also plan – within your broader estate plan – for what level of medical intervention you wish to receive should you become incapacitated. By designating a healthcare power of attorney, you can express your wishes in writing as well as through a conversation with that person.
Developing a personalized estate plan can seem like an overwhelming task, but the right lawyer can efficiently walk you through the process. Once you have a plan in place, review it annually or after a significant life event. Not only will it give you peace of mind, but it will take the stress off your survivors while they are grieving your passing.