If you haven’t established an estate plan, contact an attorney to get the process started. Even if your assets are few, an estate plan communicates your last wishes to your family. To help you understand what the process entails, take a look at the answers to these frequently asked questions about estate planning.
A Guide to Estate Planning
What is an estate plan?
Many people use “will” and “estate plan” interchangeably, but they’re are not the same thing. A last will and testament is a legal document that details how you want your assets distributed after your death. Wills provide instructions regarding property distribution, management of your business affairs, and parenting responsibilities. Although a will is one of many documents drafted as part of an estate plan, it’s not the only one. A comprehensive estate plan also includes directives for health care (often referred to as a living will), trusts, life insurance, powers of attorney, and funeral arrangements.
What happens if I die without one?
If you pass away without an estate plan or valid will, a court will appoint a trustee to distribute your assets among family members according to state laws. In effect, if you die intestate, the state will determine who your heirs will be and what they will inherit, regardless of the status of your relationships or preferences.
What documents should it include?
Along with a last will and testament, an estate plan should include a living will—a document that provides clear instructions to health care professionals should you become incapacitated and unable to communicate. In addition, your estate plan should designate one or more powers of attorney—legal instruments that name people chosen by you to make decisions on your behalf regarding your finances and care.
Do I need an attorney?
A lawyer with estate planning experience will draft a will that complies with all state statutes and ensure that it’s properly filed. They’ll also advise you about the tax consequences and advantages of property transfers and inheritances.
If you need help putting together an estate plan, contact Kevin R. Bryant Attorney at Law in Crossville, TN. This law office, which has more than 16 years of experience helping clients throughout Cumberland County plan for their future, specializes in family law, criminal defense, civil litigation, and personal injury cases. Visit their website to learn more about their services, or call (931) 787-1004 to schedule a consultation today.