Planning for the future is hard work. Planning for your death is even harder.
Although no one wants to think about their own demise, executing well-drafted estate planning is essential to ensure that your assets are protected. At Perry, Bundy, Plyler & Long, LLP, our attorneys are experienced in crafting individualized estate plans for our clients. Contact us today to schedule an appointment.
A primary purpose of an estate plan is to leave assets to your desired beneficiaries when you pass, which can be accomplished through your last will and testament. In your will, you can specify individuals to receive specific assets or a percentage of your estate.
You can also appoint someone within your will to administer your estate at death. This person, the Executor, will pay any debts you owe and collect and distribute your assets pursuant to your will. You can also appoint guardians for minor children in a will.
Certain individuals may require a trust as part of their estate planning. A trust is necessary if you wish to leave property to minors or to special needs beneficiaries who receive public benefits. A trust may also be necessary for tax purposes if you are a high net worth individual.
Contrary to popular belief, most individuals do not need a trust to administer their estate. The experienced estate attorneys at Perry, Bundy, Plyler &U Long, LLP, can meet with you to discuss your estate planning needs and to help determine whether a trust is a necessary part of your estate plan.
A comprehensive estate plan includes more than a will or trust. Our clients should also plan for their own incapacity. At our firm, our estate planning packages typically include a will and:
- Living will. Our clients can decide to forgo life support and other extraordinary medical care in certain circumstances when they are at the very end stages of life;
- Medical power of attorney. You can appoint an agent to make medical decisions on your behalf when you are not able to make such decisions for yourself.
- Durable financial power of attorney. You can authorize your agent to make financial decisions, pay bills, buy and sell real property, deal with banking transactions, and much more.
These documents provide peace of mind for our clients and form a plan for how your healthcare, finances, and estate will be handled when you can no longer handle these things for yourself.
Risks of Do-It-Yourself Estate Plans
Some people wrongly believe they can use a template they find or purchase off of the internet to do their own will or trust at little-to-no cost. This is a huge mistake and one that usually costs much more to correct than it would cost to execute a well-thought-out and drafted estate plan with the help of one of our estate planning attorneys. Drafting your own estate plan creates many risks, including:
- You do not include all of your assets. Many “do it yourself” estate plans do not list all assets or draft a legally sound residuary clause. This means that some of your assets pass interstate to beneficiaries determined by state statutes rather than to who you want to receive your assets.
- You haven’t planned for contingencies. Your named beneficiaries or executor could die before you. With the proper estate plan, you plan for these contingencies.
- You don’t plan for blended families. You could inadvertently reduce the estate for your children if you remarry later in life. However, there are legal ways to avoid this.
- You create documents improperly. According to N.C. Gen. Stat. § 31-3.3, a will must be signed before two witnesses. Failure to follow these formalities can lead to your will being found invalid.
Nothing is worse than having a will contest when you die, which only serves to shrink the value of the estate and delay getting funds to your loved ones who badly need them.
Contact a Monroe, NC Estate Planning Attorney
Our attorneys will happily meet with you to discuss your estate planning goals. Give us a call to schedule your consultation today.