“Our new Constitution is now established, everything seems to promise it will be durable; but in this world, nothing is certain except death and taxes.” Benjamin Franklin, letter to Jean-Baptiste Le Roy, 1789.
While death and taxes may be certain, how you are treated in your final days, and how your property is distributed after your death is up to you, as long as you think ahead. Estate planning is simply the process of putting down clear instructions of how you want your assets and property to be managed in the event of your death or incapacity.
Don’t have an estate plan? Consider discussing your needs with a Monroe Estate Planning Attorney.
Who Needs Estate Planning?
Most people believe that estate planning is reserved for the wealthy or elderly. However, every individual needs an estate plan, regardless of the size of their estate, age, or whether they have dependents. An estate plan is designed to protect you, your assets, and the financial security of your loved ones.
Estate planning is not restricted to property distribution. It also involves decisions on healthcare, personal care, and financial management. If you have minor children, you can use your estate plan to create a trust or appoint a guardian for your children.
If you become incompetent prior to enacting an estate plan, you will be unable to execute an estate plan. If you die without an estate plan, you are said to die intestate, and your assets will distribute according to the state’s statutory scheme on intestacy.
In North Carolina, for example, if you have the real property titled in solely your name, are married with children, and die intestate, your spouse and children will likely inherit the property. If your children are minors, a guardian would likely have to be appointed for your children in the event your spouse ever wants to sell or mortgage the real property, and the court would have to permit you to sell the home. If you did not have children, the property would be divided between your parents and your spouse, which means that your parents and your spouse would have to agree to the sale. You can avoid these outcomes by having a well-drafted estate plan.
What Does Estate Planning Involve?
To formulate your estate plan, your attorney will consider your needs and financial goals. This means that estate plans will tend to vary from person to person.
Some critical factors considered when drafting an estate plan include:
- The value of your estate and all the assets you own.
- A list of beneficiaries to whom you would like to leave your assets.
- Who you would like to manage your property and person if you cannot do so yourself.
- How your assets will be distributed after your death.
- Who will care for your minor children if you are incapacitated or act as their guardian upon your death.
How Can a Monroe Estate Planning Attorney Help?
Estate planning is for everyone, and everyone should seek the legal advice of an attorney when drafting an estate plan. Taking the steps to execute a well-drafted estate plan now creates certainty for you and your loved ones’ futures.
Remember, estate planning is a complex process, but you don’t have to navigate it alone. You can work with an expert attorney to determine your needs and how to protect them.